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^IP^ • 1 7 TO »7 VANDEWyiTEf\ St ^^| 



Anthony Trollope, 



}7 TO 27 Yandxwater Strevt. 








In writing these pages, which, for the want of a better 
name, I shall be fain to call the autoMogi ai^hy of so insigni- 
ficant a person as myself, it will not be so much my inten- 
tion to speak of the little details of my private life as of 
what I, and perhaps others round me, have done in liter- 
ature; of my failures and successes, such as they have been, 
and their causes; and of the opening which a literary 
career offers to men and women for the earning of their 
bread. And yet the garrulity of old age, and the aptitude 
of a man's mind to recur to the passages of his own life, 
will, I know, tempt me to say something of myself; nor, 
without doing so, should I know how to throw my matter 
into any recognized and intelligible form. That I, or any 
man, should tell everything of himself I hold to be impos- 
sible. Who could endure to own the doing of a mean 
thing? Who is ^there that has done none? But this I 
protest— that nothing that I say shall be untrue. I will 
set down naught in malice; nor will I give to myself, 
or others, honor which I do not believe to have been 
fairly won. 

My boyhood was, I think, as unhappy as that of a young 


gentleman could well be, my misfortunes arising from a 
mixture of proverty and gentle standing on the part of 
my father, and from an utter want on my own part of that 
juvenile manhood which enables some boys to hold up 
their heads even among the distresses which such a posi- 
tion in sure to produce. 

I was born in 1815, in Keppel Street, Russell Square, 
and while a baby was carried down to Harrow, where my 
father had built a house on a large farm which, in an evil 
hour, he took on a long lease from Lord North wick. That 
farm was the grave of all my father's hopes, ambition, and 
prosperity, the cause of my mother's sufferings and of tliose 
of her children, and perhaps the director of her destiny 
and of ours. My father had been a Wykamist and a 
fellow of New College, and Winchester was the destination 
of my brothers and myself; but, as he had friends among 
the masters at Harrow, and as tlie school offered an edu- 
cation almost gratuitous to children living in the parish, 
he, with a certain aptitude to do things differently from 
others, which accompanied him throughout his life, de- 
termined to use that august seminary as a '^t'other school " 
for Winchester, and sent three of us there, one after the 
other, at the age of seven. My father at this time was a 
Chancery barrister practicing in London, occupying dingy, 
almost suicidal, chambers at No. 23 Old Square, Lincoln's 
Inn — chambers which, on one melancholy occasion, did 
become absolutely suicidal.* He was, as I have been in- 
formed by those quite competent to know, an excellent 
and most conscientious lawyer, but plagued with so bad a 
temper that he drove the attorneys from him. In his early 
days he was a man of some small fortune and of higher 
hopes. These stood so high at the time of my birth that 
he was felt to be entitled to a country-house, as well as to 
that in Keppel Street; and, in order that he might build 

• A pupil of his destroyed himself in the rooms. 


Buch a residence, he took the farm. This place he called 
Julians, and land runs up to the foot of the hill on which 
tlie school and church stand— on the side toward London. 
Things there went much against him: the farm was ruin- 
ous, and I remember that we all regarded the Lord North- 
wick of those days as a cormorant who was eating us up. 
My father's clients deserted him. He purchased Yarious 
dark, gloomy chambers in and about Chancery Lane, and 
his purchases always went wrong. Then, as a final, crushing 
blow, an old uncle, whose lieir he was to have been, married 
and had a family! The house in London was let, and also 
the house he built at Harrow, from which he descended 
to a farmhouse on the land, which I have endeavored to 
make known to some readers under the name of " Orley 
Farm." lyiis place, just as it was when we lived there, is 
to be seen in the frontispiece to the first edition of that 
novel, having had the good fortuHC to be delineated by no 
less a pencil than that of John Millais. 

My two elder brothers had been sent as day-boarders to 
Harrow School from the bigger house, and may probably 
have been received among the aristocratic crowd — not on 
equal terms, because a day-boarder at Harrow in those 
days was never so received, but, at any rate, as other day- 
boarders. I do not suppose that they were well treated, 
but I doubt whether they were subjected to the ignominy 
which I endured. I was only seven, and I think that 
boys at seven are now spared among their more consider- 
ate seniors. I was never spared, and was not even allowed 
to run to and fro between our house and the school withr 
out a daily purgatory. No doubt my appearance was against 
me. 1 remember well, when I was still the junior boy in 
the school, Dr. Butler, the head master, stopping me in 
the street, and asking me, with all the clouds of Jove upon 
his brow and all the thunder in his voice, whether it was 
possible that Harrow School was disgraced by so disrepu- 
tably dirty a little boy as I? Oii, what I felt at that mo- 


menti Bat I could not look ray feelings. I do not 
doubt that I was dirty — but I think that he was cruel. 
He must have known me had lie seen me as he was wont 
to see me, for lie was in the habit of flogging me constant- 
ly. Perhaps he did not recognize me by my face. 

At this time I was three years at Harrow; and, as far as 
I can remember. I was the junior boy in tlic school when 
I left it. 

Then I was sent to a private school at Sanbnry, kept by 
Arthur Dnirv. This, I think, must have been done in 
accordance with the advice of Henry Drury, who was my 
tutor at Harrow School and my father's friend, and who 
may probably have expressed an opinion that my juvenile 
career was not proceeding in a satisfactory manner at Har- 
row. To Sunbuiy I went, and during the two jears I was 
there, though I never had any pocket-money, and seldom 
had much in the way of clothes, I lived more nearly on 
terms of equality with other boys than at any other period 
during my very prolonged school-days. Even here I was 
always in disgr^vce. I remember well how, on one occa- 
sion, four boys were selected as having been the perpetra- 
tors of some nameless horror. What it was, to this day I 
cannot even guess; but I was one of the four, innocent as 
a babe, but adjudged to have been the guiltiest of the 
guilty. We each had to write out a sermon, and my ser- 
mon was the longest of the four. During the whole of 
one term-time we were helped last at every meal. We were 
not allowed to visit the playground till the sermon was 
finished. Mine was only done a day or two before the 
holidays. Mr.s. Drury, when she saw us, shook her head 
with pitying horror. There were ever so many other pun- 
ishments accumulated on our heads. It broke my heart, 
knowing myself to be innocent, and suffering also under 
the almost equally painful feeling that the other three- 
no doubt wicked boys— were the curled darlings of the 

hool, who would never have selected me to share their 


wickedness with them. I contrived to learn, from words 
that fell from Mr. Drury, that he condemned me because 
I, having come from a public school, might be supposed 
to be the leader of wickedness! On the first day of the 
next term he whispered to me half a word that perhaps he 
had been wrodg. With all a stupid boy'e slowness, I said 
nothing; and he had not tlie courage to carry reparation 
further. All that was fifty years ago, and it burns me now 
as though it were yesterday. What lily-livered curs those 
boys must have been not to have told the truth! at any 
rate as far as I was concerned. 1 remember their names 
well, and almost wish to write them here. 

When I was twelve there came the vacancy at Winches- 
ter College which I was destined to fill. My two elder 
brothers had gone there, and the younger had been taken 
away, being already supposed to have lost his chance of 
New College. It had been one of the great ambitions of 
my father's life that his three sons who lived to go to 
Winchester should all become fellows of New College. 
But that suffering man was never destined to have an am- 
bition gratified. We all lost the prize which he struggled 
with infipite labor to put within our reach. My eldest, 
brother all but achieved it, and afterward went to Oxford, 
taking three exhibitions from the school, though he lost 
the great glory of a Wykamist. He has since made him- 
self well known to the public as a writer in connection 
with all Italian subjects. He is still living, as I now write. 
But my other brother died early. 

While I was at Winchester my father's affairs went from 
bad to worse. He gave up his practice at the bar, and, 
unfortunate that he was, took another farm. It is odd 
that a man should conceive — and in this case a highly 
educated and a very clever man — that farming should be a 
business in which he might make money without any 
special education or apprenticeship. Perhaps of all trades 
it Js the one in which m Acciu'fvte knowledge of ^vbat 


things should be done, and the best manner of doing 
them, is most necessary. And it is one also for success in 
which a sufficient capital is indispensable. He had no 
knowledge, and, when he took this second farm, no capi- 
tal. This was the last step preparatory to his final ruin. 

Soon after I had been sent to Winchester my mother 
went to America, taking with her my brother Henry and 
my two sisters, who were then no more than children. 
This was, I think, in 1827. I have no clear knowledge of 
her object, or of my father's; but I believe that he had an 
idea tliat money might be made by sending goods — little 
goods, such as pincushions, pepper-boxes, and pocket- 
knives — out to the still unfurnished States; and that she 
conceived that an opening might be made for my brother 
Henry by erecting some bazaar or extended shop in one of 
the Western cities. Whence the money came I do not 
know, but the pocket-knives and the pepper-boxos were 
bought, and the bazaar built. X have seen it since in the 
town of Cincinnati — a sorry building! But I have been 
told that in those days it was an imposing edifice. My 
jnother went first, with my sisters and second brother. 
Then my father followed them, taking my elder brother, 
before he went to Oxford. But there was an interval of 
some year and a half during which he and I were at Win- 
chester together. 

Over a period of forty years, since I began'my manhood 
at a desk in the Post-office, I and my brother, Thomas 
Adolphus, have been fast friends. There have been hot 
words between us, for perfect friendship bears and allows 
hot words. Few brothers have had more of brotherhood. 
But in those school-days he was, of all my foes, the worst. 
In accordance with the practice of the college, which sub- 
mits, or did then submit, much of the tuition of the 
younger boys to the elder, he was my tutor; and in his 
capacity of teacher and ruler, he had studied the theories 
of Draco. I remember well how he used to exact obedi- 


ence after the manner of that lawgiver. Hang a little boy 
for stealing apples, he used to say, and other little boys 
will not steal apples. The doctrine was already exploded 
elsewhere, but he stuck to it with conservative energy. 
The result was that, as a part of his daily exercise, he 
thrashed me with a big stick. That such thrashings 
should have been possible at a school as a continual part 
of one's daily life, seems to me to argue a very ill condi- 
tion of school discipline. 

At this period I remember to have passed one set 
of holidays — the midsummer holidays — in my father's 
chambers in Lincoln's Inn. There was often a diflHculty 
about the holidays — as to what should be done with me. 
On this occasion my amusement consisted in wandering 
about among those old, deserted buildings, and in reading 
Shakespeare out of a bi-coluponed edition which is still 
among my books. It was not that I had chosen Shakes- 
peare, but that there was nothing else to read. 

After a while my brother left Winchester and accom- 
panied my father to America. Then another and a dijffer- 
eut horror fell to my fate. My college bills had not been 
paid, and the school tradesmen who administered to the 
wants of the boys were told not to extend their credit to 
me. Boots, waistcoats, and pocket-handkerchiefs, which, 
with some slight superveillance, were at the command of 
other scholars, were closed luxuries to me. My school- 
fellows, of course, knew that it was so, and I became a 
pariah. It is the nature of boys to be cruel. I have 
sometimes doubted whether among each other they do 
usually suffer much, one from the other's cruelty; but I 
suffered horribly! I could make no stand against it. I 
had no friend to whom I could pour out my sorrows. I 
was big, and awkward, and ugly, and, I have no doubt, 
skulked about in a most unattractive manner. Of course, 
I was ill-dressed and dirty. But, ah! how well I remem- 
ber all the agonies of my young heart; how I considered 


"Whether I should always be alone; whether I could not 
find my way up to the top of that college tower, and from 
thence put an end to everything? And a worse thing 
came than the stoppage of the supplies 'from the shop- 
keepers. Every boy had a shilling a week pocket-money, 
which we called battels, and which was advanced to us out 
of the pocket of the second master. On one awful day 
the second master announced to me that my battels would 
be stopped. He told me the reason — the battels for the 
last half-year had not been repaid; and he urged his own 
unwillingness to advance tl?e money. The loss of a shil- 
ling a week would not have been much — even though 
pocket-money from other sources never reached me — but 
that tlio other boys all knew it! Every now and again, per- 
haps three or*four times in a half-year, these weekly shillings 
were given to certain servants of the college, in payment, 
it may be presumed, for some extra services. And now, 
when it came to the turn of any servant, he received sixty- 
nine shillings instead of seventy, and the cause of the 
defalcation was explained to him. I never saw one of 
those servants without feeling that I had picked his 

When I bad been at Winchester something over three 
years my father reurned to England and took me away. 
Whether this was done because of the expense, or because 
my chance of New College was supposed to have passed 
away, I do not know. As a fact, I should, I believe, have 
gained the prize, as there occurred in my year an excep- 
tional number of vacancies. But it would have served me 
nothing, as there would have been no funds for my main- 
tenance at the university till I should have entered in upon 
the fruition of the founder's endowment, and my career 
at Oxford must have been unfortunate. 

When I left Winchester I had three more years of school 
before me, having as yet endured nine. My father at this 
time, having left my mother and sieters^ with my younger 


brother, in America, took himself to live at a wretched 
tumble-down farmhouse on the second farm he had hired, 
and I Was taken there with him. It was nearly three 
miles from Harrow, at Harrow Weald, but in the parish; 
and from this house I was agahi sent to that school as a 
day-boarder. Let those who know what is the usual ap- 
pearance and what the usual apparteuances of a boy at 
such a school, consider what must have been my condition 
among them, with a daily walk of twelve miles through 
the lanes, added to the other little troubles and labors of 
a school life! 

Perhaps the eighteen months which I passed in this 
condition, walking to and fro on those miserably dirty 
lanes, was the worst period of my life. I was now over 
fifteen, and had come to an age ut which I could appre- 
ciate at its full the misery of expulsion from all social 
intercourse. I had not only no friends, but was despised 
by all my companions. The farmhouse was not only no 
more than a farmhouse, but was one of those farmhouses 
which seem always to be in danger of falling into the 
neighboring horse-pond. As it crept downward from 
house to stables, fuom stables to barns, from barns to cow- 
sheds, and from cowsheds to dung-heaps, one could hardly 
tell where one began and the other ended! There was a 
parlor in which my father lived, shut up among big books; 
but I passed my most jocund hours in the kitchen, mak- 
ing* innocent love to the bailiff's daughter. The farm 
kitchen might be very well through the evening, when the 
horrors of the school were over; but it all added to the 
cruelty of the days. A sizar at a Cambridge college, or 
a Bible-clerk at Oxford, has not pleasant days, or used 
not to have them half a century ago; but his position was 
recognized, and the misery was measured. I was a sizar 
at a fashionable school, a condition never premeditated. 
What right had a wretched farmer's boy, reeking from a 
dung-hill, to sit next to the sons of peers— or, much worse 


Still, next to the nous of big tradesmen who had made 
their ten thousand a year? The indignities I endured are 
not to be described. As I look back it seems to me that 
all hands were turned against me — tliose of masters as 
well as boys. I was allowed to join in no plays. Nor did 
I learn anything, for I was tauglit nothing. The only 
expense, except that of books, to which a house-boarder 
was then subject, was the fee to a tutor, amounting, I 
think, to ten guineas. My tutor took me without the 
fee; but when I heard him declare the fact in the pupil- 
room before the boys, I hardly felt grateful for the charity. 
I was never a coward, and cared for a thrashing as little 
as any boy, but one cannot make a stand against the acerb- 
ities of three hundred tyrants without a moral courage, 
of which at that time I possessed none. I know that I 
skulked, and was odious to the eyes of those I admired 
and enfied. At last I was driven to rebellion, and there 
came a great fight — at the end of which my opponent had 
to be taken home for a while. If these words be ever 
printed, T trust that some schoolfellow of those days may 
Btill be left alive who will be able to say that in claiming 
this solitary glory of my school-days, I am not making a 
false boast. 

I wish I could give some adequate picture of the gloom 
of that farmhouse. My elder brother — Tom, as I must 
call him in my narrative, though the world, I think, 
knows him best as Adolplius— was at Oxford. My father 
and I lived together, he having no means of living except 
what came from the farm. My memory tells me that he 
was always in debt to his landlord and to the tradesmen 
be employed. Of self-indulgence no one could accuse 
him. Our table was poorer, I think, than that of the 
bailiff who still hung on to our shattered fortunes. The 
furniture was mean and scanty. There was a large, ram- 
bling kitchen-garden, but no gardener; and many times 
\erbal iucentives were made to me— generally, I fear, in 


vain — to get me to Jend a hand at digging and planting,^ 
Into the hayfield on holidays I was often compelled to go 
— not, I fear, with much profit. My father's health was 
very bad. During the last ten years of his life he spent 
nearly the half of his time in bed, suffering agony from 
sick-headaches. But he was never idle unless when 
suffering. He had at this time commenced a work — an 
Encyclopaedia Ecclesiastica, as he called it — on which he 
labored to the moment of his death. It was his ambition 
to describe all ecclesiastical terms, including the denomi- 
nations of every fraternity of monks and every convent of 
nuns, with all their orders and subdivisions. Under 
crushing disadvantages, with few or no books of reference, 
with immediate access to no library, he worked at his 
most ungrateful task with unflagging industry. When he 
died, three numbers out of eight had been published by 
subscription; and are now, I fear, unknown, and buried 
in the midst of that huge pile of futile literature, the 
building up of which has broken so many hearts. 

And my father, thougli he would try, as it were by a 
side wind, to get a useful spurt of work out of me, either 
in the garden or in the hay-field, had constantly an eye to 
my scholastic improvement. From my very babyhood, 
before those first days at Harrow, I had to take my place 
alongside of him as he shaved, at six o'clock in the morn- 
ing, and say my early rules from the Latin Grammar, or 
repeat the Greek alphabet; and was obliged at these early 
lessons to hold my head inclined toward him, so that, in 
the event of guilty fault, he might be able to pull my hair 
without stopping his razor or dropping his shaving-brush. 
No father was ever more anxious for the education of his 
children, though I think ijone ever knew less how to go 
about the work. Of amusement, as far as I can remember, 
he never recognized the need. He allowed himself no 
distraction, and did not seem to think it was necessary to 
a child. I cannot bethink me of aught that he ever did 


for my gralification; but for my welfare — for the welfare 
of us all — he was willing to make any sacrifice. At this 
time, in the farmhouse at Harrow Weald, he could not 
give his time to teach me, for every hour that he was not 
io the fields was devoted to his monks and nuns; but he 
would require me to sit at a table with Lexicon and Gradus 
before me. As I look back on my resolute idleness and 
fixed determination to make no use whatever of the books 
thus thrust upon me, or of the hours, and as I bear in 
mind the consciousness of great energy in after-life, I am 
in doubt whether my nature is wholly altered, or whether 
his plan was wholly bad. In those days he never punished 
me, though I think I grieved him much by my idleness; 
but in passion he knew not what he did, and he has 
knocked me down with the great folio Bible which he 
always used. In the old house were the first two volumes 
of Cooper's novel called "The Prairie," a relic — probably 
a dishonest relic^of some subscription to Hookham's 
library. Other books of the kind there was none. I won- 
der how many dozen times I read those first two volumes. 
It was the horror of those dreadful walks backward and 
forward »which made my life so bad. What so pleasant, 
what so sweet, as a walk along an English lane, when the 
air is sweet, and the weather fine, and when there is a 
charm in walking! But here were the same lanes four 
times a day, in wet and dry, in heat and summer, with all 
the accompanying mud and dust, and with disordered 
clothes. I might have been known among all the boys at 
a hundred yards' distance by my boots and trousers — and 
was conscious at all times that I was so known. I remem- 
bered constantly that address from Dr. Butler when I was 
A little boy. Dr. Longley niig^ht with equal justice have 
said the same thing any day, only that Dr. LouL^loy never 
in his life was able to say an ill-natured word. Dr. Butler 
only became Dean of Peterborough, but his snccessor lived 
to be Arohbiflhop of Canterbury. 


I think it was in the autumn of 1831 that my mother, 
with the rest of the family, returned from America. She 
lived at first at the farmhouse, but it was only for a short 
time. She came back with a book written about the United 
States, and the immediate pecuniary success which that 
work obtained enabled her to take us all back to the house 
at Harrow — not to the first house, which would still have 
been beyond her means, but to that which has since been 
called Orley Farm, and which was an Eden as compared 
to our abode at Harrow Weald. Here my schooling went 
on under somewhat improved circumstances. The three 
miles became half a mile, and probably some salutary 
changes were made in my wardrobe. My mother and my 
sisters, too, were tliere. And a great element of happiness 
was added to us all in the affectionate and life-enduring 
friendship of the family of our close neiglibor. Colonel 
Grant. But I was never able to overcome — or even to at- 
tempt to overcome — the absolute isolation of my school 
position. Of the cricket-ground or racket-court I was 
allowed to know nothing. And yet I longed for these 
things with an exceeding ponging. I coveted popularity 
with a covetousness that was almost mean. It seemed to 
me that there would be an Elysium in the intimacy of 
tliose very boys whom I was bound to hate because they 
hated me. Something of the disgrace of my school-days 
has clung to me all through life. Not that I have ever 
shunned to speak of them as openly as I am writing now, 
but that, when I have been claimed as schoolfellow by 
some of those many hundreds who were with me either at 
Harrow or at Winchester, I have felt that I had no right 
to talk of things from most of which I was kept in estrange- 

Through all my father's troubles lie still desired to send 
me either to Oxford or Cambridge. My elder brother 
went to Oxford, and Henry to Cambridge. It all depended 
on my ability to get some scholarship that would help mo 


to live at the university. I had my chances. There were 
exhibitions from Harrow — which I never got. Twice T 
tried' for a sizarship at Clare Hall, but in vain. Once I 
made a futile attempt for a scholarship at Trinity, Oxford, 
but failed again. Then the idea of a university career 
was abandoned. And very fortunate it was that I did not 
succeed, for my career, with such assistance only as a 
scholarship would have given me, would have ended in 
debt and ignominy. 

When I left Harrow I was all but nineteen, jand I had at 
fii-st gone there at seven. During the whole of those 
twelve years no attempt had been made to teach me any- 
thing but Latin and Greek, and very little attempt to 
teach me those languages. I do not remember any lessons 
either in writing or arithmetic. French and German I 
certainly was not taught. The assertion will scarcely be 
credited, but I do assert that I have no recollection of 
other tuitron except that in the dead languages. At the 
school at Sunbury there was certainly a waiting master and 
a French master. The latter was an extra, and I never 
had €xtras. I suppose I must have been in the writing 
master's class, but though I can call to mind the man, I 
cannot call to mind his ferule. It was by their ferules 
that I always knew them, and they me. I feel convinped 
in my mind that I have been flogged oftener than aVy 
human being alive. It was just possible to obtain fi\\ 
scourgings in one day at Winchester, and I have' often 
boasted that I obtained them all. Looking back over half 
a century, I am not quite sure whether the boast is true; 
but if I did not, nobody ever did. 

And yet, when I think how little I knew of Latin or 
Greek on leaving Harrow at nineteen, I am astonished at 
the possibility of such waste of time. lam now a. fair 
Latin scholar— that is to say, I read and enjoy the Latin 
xjlassics, and could probably make myself understood in 
•Latin prose. But the knowledge which I have, I have 


acquired since I left school — no doubt, aided much by that 
groundwork of the language which will in the process of 
years make its way slowly, even through the skin. There 
were tw,elye years of tuition in which I do not remember 
that I ever knew a lesson ! When I left Harrow I was 
nearly at the top of the school, being a monitor, and, I 
think, the seventh boy. This position I achieved by 
gravitation upward. I bear in mind well with how prod- 
igal a hand prizes used to be showered about— but I never 
got a prize. From the first to the last thei^ was nothing 
satisfactory in my school career, except the way in which 
I licked the boy who had to be taken home to be cured. 



Though I do not wish in these pages to go back to the 
origin of all the TroUopes, I must say a few words of my 
mother — partly because filial duty will not allow me to be 
silent as to a parent who made for herself a considerable 
name in the literature of her day, and partly because there 
were circumstances i*n her career well worthy of notice. 
She was the daughter of the Rev. William Milton, vicar of 
Heckfield, who, as well as my father, had been a fellow of 
New College. She was nearly thirty when, in 1809, she 
mart-ied my father. Six or seven years ago a bundle of 
love-letters from her to him fell into my hand in a very 
singular way, having been found in the house of a 
stranger, who, with much courtesy, sent them to me. 
They were then about sixty years old, and had been written 
some before and some after her marriage, over the space 
,of perhaps a year. In no novel of Richardson's or Miss 
Barney's have I seen a correspondence at the same time so 
sweet, so graceful, and so well expressed. But the marvel 


of these letters was in the strange difference they bore to 
the love-letters of the present day. They are, all of them, 
on square paper, folded and sealed, and addressed to my 
father on circuit; but the language in each, though it 
almost borders on the romantic, is beautifully chosen, and 
^fit, without change of a syllable, for the most critical eye. 
What girl now studies the words with which she shall 
address her lover, or seeks to charm him with grace of 
diction? She dearly likes a little slang, and revels in the 
luxury of entire familiarity with a new and strange being. 
There is something in that, too, pleasant to our thoughts, 
but I fear that tiiis phase of life does not conduce to a 
taste for poetry among our girls. Though my mother 
was a writer of prose, and reveled in satire, the poetic 
feeling clung to her to the last. 

In the first ten years of her married life she became the 
mother of six children, four of whom died of consumption 
at different ages. My elder sister married, and had chil- 
dren, of whom one still lives; but she was one of the four 
who followed each other at intervals during my mother's 
lifetime. Then my brother Tom and I were left to her, 
with the destiny before us three of writing more books 
than were probably ever before produced by a single family.* 
My married sister addedjto the number by one little anony- 
mous High-church story, called " Chollerton." 

From the date of their marriage up to 1827, when my 
mother went to America, my father's affairs had always 
been going down in the world. She had loved society, 
affecting a somewhat liberal ruhy and professing an emo- 
tional dislike to tyrants, which sprung from the wrongs of 
would-be regicides and the poverty of patriot exiles. An 

* The family of Estienne, the great French printers of the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries, of whom there were at least nine or ten, did 
more, perhaps, for the production of literature than any otlier family. 
But they, though they edited, and not unfrequently translated, the 
works which they published, were not authors in the ordinary sense, 


Italian marquis who bad escaped with only a second shirt 
from the clutches of some archduke whom he had wished 
to exterminate, or a French proUtaire with distant ideas of 
sacrificing himself to the cause of liberty, were always 
welcome to the modest hospitality of her house. In after- 
years, when marquises of another caste had been gracious 
to her, she became a strong Tory, and thought that arch- 
duchesses were sweet. But with her politics were always 
an affair of the heart, as, indeed, were all her convictions. 
Of reasoning from causes, I think that she knew nothing. 
Her heart was in every way so perfect, her desire to do 
good to all around her so thorough, and her power of self- 
sacrifice so complete, that she generally got herself right 
in spite of her want of logic; but it must be acknowledged 
that she was emotional. I can remember now her books, 
and can see her at her pursuits. Tl>e poets she loved best 
were Dante and Spenser. But she raved also of him of 
whom all such ladies were raving then, and rejoiced in the 
popularity and wept over the persecution of Lord l^yron. 
She was among those who seized with avidity on the novels, 
as they came out, of the then unknown Scott, and who 
could still talk of the triumphs of Miss Edgeworth. With 
the literature of the day she was familiar, and with the 
poets of the past. Of otlier reading I do not think she 
had mastered much. Her life, I take it, though latterly 
clouded by many troubles, was easy, luxurious, and idle, 
till my father's affairs and her own aspirations sent her to 
America. She had dear friends among literary people, of 
whom I remember Mathias, Henry Milman, and Miss Laii- 
don; but till long after middle life she never herself wrote 
a line lor publication. 

In 1827 she went to America, having been partly in- 
stigated by the social and communistic ideas of a lady 
whom I well remember— a certain Miss Wright— who was, 
I think, the first of the American female lecturers. Him* 
chief desire, however, was to establish my brother Henry; 


and perhaps joined with that was the additional object of 
breaking up her English home without pleading broken 
fortunes to all the world. At Cincinnati, in the state of 
Ohio, she built a bazaar, and, I fancy, lost all the money 
which may have been embarked in that speculation. It 
could not have been much, and I think that others also 
must have suffered. But she looked about her, at her 
American cousins, and resolved to write a book about 
them. This book she brought back with her in 1831, and 
published it early in 1832. When she did this she was al- 
ready fifty. When doing it she was aware that unless she 
could BO succeed in making money, there was no money 
for any of the family. She had never before earned a 
shilling. She almost immediately received a considerable 
sum from the publishers — if I remember rightly, amount- 
ing to two sums of £400 each, within a few months; and 
from that moment till nearly the time of her death, at any 
rate, for more than twenty years, she was in the receipt of 
a considerable income from her writings. It was a late 
age at which to begin such a career. 

" The Domestic Manners of the Americans " was the first 
of a series of books of travels, of which it was probably the 
best, and was certainly the best-known. It will not be 
too much to say of it that it had a material effect upon 
the manners of the Americans of the day, and that that 
effect has been fully appreciated by them. No observer 
was certainly ever less qualified to Judge of the prospects 
or even of the happiness of a young people. No one could 
have been worse adapted by nature for the task of learn- 
ing whether a nation was in a way to thrive. Whatever 
she saw she judged, as most women do, from her own 
standing-point. If a thing were ugly to her eyes, it ought 
to be ugly to all eyes— and if ugly, it must be bad. What 
though people had plenty to eat and clothes to'wear, if 
they put their feet upon the tables and did not reverence 
their betters? The Americans wore to her rough, ua(*<^\lUL 


and vulgar— and she told them so. Those communistic 
and social ideas, which had been so pretty in a drawing- 
room, were scattered to the winds. Her volumes were 
very bitter; but they were very clever, and they saved the 
family from ruin. 

Book followed book immediately — first, two novels, and 
then a book on Belgium and Western Germany. She re- 
furnished the house which I have called Orley Farm, and 
surrounded us again with moderate comforts. Of the 
mixture of joviality and industry which formed her char- 
acter it is almost impossible to speak with exaggeration. 
The industry was a thing apart, kept to herself. It was 
not necessary that any one who lived with her should see 
it. She was at her table at four in the morning, and had 
finished her work before the world had begun to be 
aroused. But the joviality was all for others. She could 
dance with other people's legs, eat and drink with other 
people's palates, be proud with the luster of other people's 
finery. Every mother can do that for her own daughters; 
but she could do it for any girl whose look, and voice, and 
manners pleased her. Even when she was at work, the 
laughter of those she loved was a pleasure to her. She 
had much, very much, to suffer. Work sometimes came 
hard to her, so much being required — for she was extrava- 
gant, and liked to have money to spend; but of all people 
I have known she was the most joyous, or, at any rate, the 
most capable of joy. 

We continued this renewed life at Harrow for nearly two 
years, during which I was still at the school, and at the erld 
of which I was nearly nineteen. Then there came a great 
catastrophe. My father, who, when he was well, lived a 
sad life among his monks and nuns, still kept a horse and 
gig. One day in March, 1834, just as it had been decided 
that I should leave the school then, instead of remaining, 
as had been intended, till midsummw/I was summoned 
Tery early in the morning to drive hi^a up to Lon(Jon, He 


had been ill, and must still have been Very ill indeed 
wlien he submitted to be driven by any one. It was not 
till we had started that he told me that I was to put him 
on board the Ostend boat. This I did, driving him 
through tlie city down to the docks. It was not within his 
nature to be communicative, and to the last he never told 
me why he was going to Ostend. Something of a general 
flitting abroad I had heard before, but why he should have 
flown the 6rst, and flown so suddenly, I did not in the least 
know till I returned. When I got back with the gig, the 
house and furniture were all in charge of the sheriff's 

The gardener who had been with us in former days 
stopped me as I drove up the road, and with gestures, 
signs, and whispered words, gave me to understand that 
the whole affair — horse, gig, and harness — would be made 
prize of if I went but a few yards further. Why they 
should not have been made prize of I do not know. The 
little piece of dishonest business which I at once took in 
hand and carried through successfully was of no special 
service to any of us. I drove the gig into the village, and 
sold the entire equipage to the ironmonger for £17, the 
exact sum which he claimed as being due to himself. I 
was much complimented by the gardener, who seemed to 
think that so much had been rescued out of the fire. I 
fancy that the ironmonger was the only gainer by my 

"When I got back to the house a scene of devastation was 
in progress, which still was not without its amusement. 
My mother, through her various troubles, had contrived 
to keep a certain number of pretty-pretties which were 
dear to her heart. They were not much, for in those days 
the ornamentation of houses was not lavish, as it is now; 
but there was some china, and a little glass, a few books, 
and a very moderate supply of household silver. These 
things, wid things lil^9 them, were being wvrried dowA 


Burreptitiously, through a gap between the two gardens, 
on to the premises of our friend Colonel Grant. My two 
sisters, then sixteep and seventeen, and the Grant girls, 
who were just younger, were the chief marauders. To 
such forces I was happy to add myself for any enterprise, 
and between us we cheated the creditors to the extent of 
our powers, amid the anathemas, but good-humored ab- 
stinence from personal violence, of the man in charge of 
the property. I still own a few books that were thus 
purloined . 

For a few days the whole family bivouacked under the 
colonel's hospitable roof, cared for and comforted by 
that dearest of all women, his wife. Then w€ followed 
my father to Belgium, and established ourselves in a 
large house just outside the walls of Bruges. At this 
time, and till my father's death, everything was done with 
money earned by my mother. She now again furnished 
the house — this being the third that she had put in order 
since she came back from America two years and a half 

There were six of us went into this new banishment. 
My brother Henry had left Cambridge, and was ill. My 
younger sister was ill. And though as yet we hardly told 
each other that it was so, we began to feel that that deso- 
lating fiend, consumption, was among us. My father 
was broken-hearted as well as ill, but whenever he could 
sit at his table he still worked at his ecclesiastical records. 
My elder sister and I were in good health, but I was an 
idle, desolate hanger-on, that most helpless of human 
beings, a hobbledehoy of nineteen, without any idea of a 
career, or a profession, or a trade. As well as I can re- 
member I was fairly happy, for there were pretty girls at 
Bruges with whom I could fancy that I was in love; and 
I had been removed from the real misery of school. But 
as to my future life I had not even an aspiration. Now 
and again there would arise a feeling that it was hard 


upon my mother tbat she should have to do so much for 
u§, that we should be idle while she was forced to work so 
constantly; but we should probably have thought more 
of that had she not taken to work as though it were the 
recognized condition of life for an old lady of fifty-five. 

Then, by degi-ees, an established sorrow was at home 
among us. My brother was an invalid, and the horrid 
word, which of all words was for some years after the 
most dreadful to us, had been pronounced. It was no 
longer a delicate chest, and some temporary necessity for 
peculiar care — but consumption! The Bruges doctor had 
said so, and we knew that he was right. From that time 
forth my mother's most visible occupation was tbat of 
nursing. There were two sick men in the house, and hers 
were the hands that tended them. The novels went on» 
of course. We had already learned to know that they 
would be forthcoming at stated intervals, and they always 
^ere forthcoming. The doctor's vials and the ink-bottle 
held equal places in my mother's rooms. I have wrRten 
many novels, under many circumstances; but I doubt 
much whether I could write one when my whole heart was 
by the bedside of a dying son. Her power of dividing 
herself into two parts, and keeping her intellect by itself, 
clear from the troubles of the world, and fit for the duty 
it had to do, I never saw equaled. I do not think that 
the writing of a novel is the most difficult task which a 
irtan may be called upon to do; but it is a task that may 
be supposed to demand a spirit fairly at ease. The work 
of doing it with a troubled spirit killed Sir Walter Scott. 
My mother went through it unscathed in strength, though 
she performed all the work of day-nurse and night-nurse 
to a sick household; for there were soon three of them 

At this time there came from some quarter an offer to 
me of a commission in an Austrian cavalry regiment; and 
po it was apparently my destiny to be a soldier. Bat I 


must learn German and French, of which languages I knew 
almost nothing. For this a year was allowed me, and in 
order that it might be accomplished without expense, I 
undertook the duties of a classical usher to a school then 
kept by William Drury at Brussels. Mr. Drury had been 
one of the masters at Harrow when I went there at seven 
years old, and is now, after an interval of fifty-three years, 
even yet oQciating as clergyman at that place.* To Brus- 
sels I went, and my heart still sinks within me as I reflect 
that any one should have intrusted to me the tuition of 
thirty boys. I can only hope that those boys went there 
to learn French, and that their parents were not particular 
as to their classical acquirements. I remember that on 
two occasions I was sent ho take the school out for a walk; 
but that after the second attempt Mrs. Drury declared 
that the boys' clothes would not stand any farther experi- 
ments of that kind. I cannot call to mind any learning 
by me of other languages; but as I only remained in that 
position for six weeks, perhaps the return lessons had not 
been as yet commenced. At the end of the six weeks a 
letter reached me, offering me a clerkship in the General 
Post-oflBce, and I accepted it. Among my mother's dear- 
est friends she reckoned Mrs. Freeling, the wife of Clayton 
Freeling, whose father. Sir Francis Freeling, then ruled 
the Post-oflBce. She had heard of my desolate position, 
and had begged from her father-in-law the offer of a berth 
in his own oflBce. 

I hurried back from Brussels to Bruges on my way to 
London, and found that the number of invalids had been 
increased. My younger sister, Emily, who, when I had 
left the house, was trembling on the balance, who had 
been pronounced to be delicate, but with that false* 
tongued hope which knows the truth, but will lie lest the 
heart should faint, had been called delicate, but only deli- 

*He died two years after these words were written. 


cate^ was now ill. Of course she was doomed. I knew it 
of both of them, though I had never heard the word 
spoken, or had spoken it to any one. And my father was 
very ill — ill to dying, though I did not know it. And my 
mother had decreed to send my elder sister away to Eng- 
land, thinking that the vicinity of so much sickness might 
be injurious to her. All this happened late in the au- 
tumn of 1834, in the spring of which year we had come 
to Bruges; and then my mother was left alone in a big 
house outside the town, with two Belgian women-servants, 
to nurse these dying patients — the patients being her hus- 
band and children — and to write novels for tlie sustenance 
of the family! It was about this period of her career that 
her best novels were written. 

To my own initiation at the Post-office I will return in 
the next chapter. Just before Christmas my brother died, 
and was buried at Bruges. In the following February my 
father died, and was buried alongside of him, — and with 
him died that tedious task of his, which I can only hope 
may have solaced many of his latter hours. I sometimes 
look back, meditating for hours together, on his adverse 
fate. He was a man finely educated, of great parts, with 
immense capacity for work, physically strong very much 
beyond the average of men, addicted to no vices, carried 
off by no pleasures, affectionate by nature, most anxious 
for the welfare of his children, born to fair fortunes, who, 
when he started in the world, may be said to have had 
everything at his feet. But everything went wrong with 
him. The touch of his hand seemed to create failure. He 
embarked in one hopeless enterprise after another, spend- 
ing on each all the money he could at the time command. 
But the worst curse to him of all was a temper so irritable 
that even those whom he loved the best could not endure 
it. We were all estranged from him, and yet I believe 
that he would have given his heart's blood for any of us. 
His life, as I knew it, was one long tragedy. 


After his death my mother moyed to England, and took 
and furnished a small house at Hadley, near Barnet. I 
was then a clerk in the London Post-office, and I remember 
well hoW gay she made the place with little dinners, little 
dances, and little picnics, while she herself was at work 
every morning long before others had left their beds. But 
she did not stay at Hadley much above a year. She went 
up to London, where she again took and furnished a house, 
from which my remaining sister was married and carried 
away into Cumberland. My mother soon followed her, 
and on this occasion did more than take a house. She 
bought a bit of land, a field of three acres near the town, 
and built a residence for herself. This, I think, was in 
1841, and she had thus established and re-established 
herself six times in ten years. But in Cumberland she 
found the climate too severe, and in 1844 she moved her- 
self to Florence, where she remained till her death in 
1863. She continued writing up to 1856, when she was 
seventy-six years old, and had at that time produced one 
hundred and fourteen volumes, of which the first was 
not written till she was fifty. Her career offers great en- 
couragement to those who have not begun early in life, 
but are still ambitious to do something before they depart 

She was an unselfish, affectionate, and most industrious 
woman, with great capacity for enjoyment, and high 
physical gifts. She was endowed, too, with much crea- 
tive power, with considerable humor, and a genuine 
feeling for romance. But she was neither clear-sighted 
nor accurate; and in her attempts to describe morals, 
manners, and even facts, was unable to avoid the pitfalls 
of exaggeration. 




While I was still learning my duty as an usher at Mr. 
Drury's school at Brussels, I was summoned to my clerk- 
ship in the London Post-office, and on my way passed 
through Bruges. I then saw my father and my brother 
Henry for the last time. A sadder household never was 
held together. They were all dying — except my mother, 
who would sit up night after night nursing the dying 
ones, and writing novels the while, so that there might 
be a decent roof for them to die under. Had she failed to 
write the novels, I do not know where the roof would have 
been found. It is now more than forty years ago, and look- 
ing back over so long a lapse of time I can tell the story, 
though it be the story of my own father and mother, of 
my own brother and sister, almost as coldly as I have often 
done some scene of intended pathos in fiction; but that 
scene was indeed full of pathos. I was then becoming 
alive to the blighted ambition of my father's life, and be- 
coming alive also to the violence of the strain which my 
mother was enduring. But I could do nothing but go 
and leave them. There was something that comforted me 
in the idea that I need no longer be a burden — a fallacious 
idea, as it soon proved. My salary was to be £90 a year, 
and on that I was to live in London, keep up my character 
as a gentleman, and be happy. That I should have 
thought this possible at the age of nineteen, and should 
have been delighted at being able to make the attempt, 
does not surprise me now; but that others should have 
thought it possible, friends who knew something of the 
ifTorld; does astonish me. A lad might have done S0| no 


doubt, or might do so even in these days, who was properly 
looked after and kept under control, on whose behalf some 
law of life had been laid down. Let him pay so much a 
week for his board and lodging, so much for his clothes, 
so much for his washing, and then let him understand 
that he has — shall we say?— sixpence a day left for pocket- 
money and omnibuses. Any one making the calculation 
will find the sixpence far too much. No such calculation 
was made for me or by me. It was supposed that a suf- 
ficient income had been secured to me, and that I should 
live upon it as other clerks lived. 

But as yet the £90 a year was not secured to me. On 
reaching London I went to my friend Clayton Freeling, 
who was then secretary at the Stamp-office, and was taken 
by him to the scene of my future labors m St. Murtin's-le- 
Grand. Sir Francis Freeling was the secretary, but he 
was greatly too high an official to be seen at first by a new 
junior clerk. I was taken, therefore, to his eldest son, 
Henry Freeling, who was the assistant secretary, and by 
him I was examined as to my fitness. The story of that 
examination is given accurately in one of the opening 
chapters of a novel written by me, called '' The Three 
Clerks." If any reader of this memoir would refer to 
that chapter and see how Charley Tudor was supposed to 
have been admitted into the Internal Navigation Office, 
that reader will learn how Anthony Trollope was actu- 
ally admitted into the secretary's office of the General 
Post-office in 1834. I was asked to copy some lines from 
the Times newspaper with an old quill pen, and at once 
made a series of blots and false spellings. *'That won't 
do, you know,'' said Henry Freeling to his brother Clayton. 
Clayton, who was my friend, urged that I was nervous, 
and asked that I might be allowed to do a bit of writing 
at home and bring it as a sample on the next day. I was 
then asked whether I was a proficient in arithmetic. What 
could I say? I had never learned the multiplication- table. 


and had no more idea of the rule of three than of conlo 
sections. " I know a little of it," I said humbly, where- 
upon I was sternly assured that on the morrow, should I 
succeed in showing that my handwriting was all that it 
ought to be, I should be examined as to tliat little of 
arithmetic. If that little should not be found to comprise 
a thorough knowledge of all the ordinary rules, together 
with practiced and quick skill, my career in life could not 
be made at the Post-office. Going down the main stairs ol 
the building — stairs which have, I believe, been now pulled 
down to make room for sorters and stampers, Clayton 
Freeling told me not to be too down-hearted. I was my- 
self inclined to think that I had better go back to the 
school in Brussels. But nevertheless I went to work, and 
under the surveillance of my elder brother made a beauti- 
ful transcript of four or five pages of Gibbon. With a 
faltering heart I took these on the next day to the office. 
With my calligraphy I was contented, but was certain that 
I should come to the ground among the figures. But 
when I got to '* The Grand," as we used to call our office 
in those days, from its site in St. Martiii's-le-Grand, I 
was seated at a desk without any further reference to my 
competency. No one condescended even to look at my 
beautiful penmanship. 

That was the way in which candidates for the civil 
service were examined in my young days. It was, at any 
rate, the way in which I was examined. Since that time 
there has been a very great change indeed; and in some 
respects a great improvement. But in regard to the ab- 
solute fitness of the young men selected for the public 
service, I doubt whether more harm has not been done 
than good. And I think that good might have been done 
without the harm. The rule of the present day is, that 
every place shall be open to public competition, and that 
it shall be given to the best among the comers.* I object 
to this, that at present there exists no known mode o( 


learning who is best, and that the method employed hjis 
no tendency to elicit the best. That method pretends 
only to decide who among a certain number of lads will 
best answer a string of questions, for the answering of 
which they are prepared by tutors, who have sprung up 
for the purpose since this fashion of election has been 
adopted. Wiien it is decided in a family that a boy shall 
*' try the civil service," he is made to undergo a certain 
amount of cramming. But such treatment has, I main- 
tain, no connection whatever with education. The lad is 
no better fitted after it than he was before for the future 
work of his life. But his very success fills him with false 
ideas of his own educational standing, and so far unfits 
him. And, by the plan now in vogue, it has come to pass 
that no one is in truth responsible either for the conduct, 
the manners, or even for the character of the youth. The 
responsibility was, perhaps, slight before; but existed, and 
was on the increase. 

There might have been — in some future time of still in- 
creased wisdom, there yet may be— a department estab- 
lished to test the fitness of acolytes without recourse to the 
dangerous optimism of competitive choice. I will not say 
but that there should have been some one to reject me— 
though I will have the hardihood to say that, had I been 
so rejected, the civil service would have lost a valuable 
public servant. This is a statement that will not, I think, 
be denied by those who, after I am gone, may remember 
anything of my work. Lads, no doubt, should not be 
admitted who have^none of the small acquirements that 
are wanted. Our offices should not be schools in which 
writing and early lessons in geography, arithmetic, or 
French should be learned. But all that could be ascer- 
tained without the perils of competitive examination. 

Tlie desire to insure the efficiency of the young men 
selected has not been the only oDject— perhaps not the 
chief object— of those who have yielded in this matter to 


the arguments of the reformers. There had arisen ia 
England a system of patronage, under which it had be- 
come gradually necessary for politicans to use their in- 
fluence for the purchase of political support. A member 
of the House of Commons, holding oflSce, who might 
chance to have five clerkships to give away in a year, found 
himself compelled to distribute them among those who 
sent him to the House. In this there was nothing pleasant 
to the distributer of patronage. Do away with the system 
altogether, and he would have as much chance of support 
as another. He bartered his patronage only because an- 
other did so also. The beggings, the refusings, thje jeal- 
ousies, the correspondence, were simply troublesome. 
Gentlemen in office were not, therefore, indisposed to rid 
themselves of the care of patronage. I have no doubt 
their hands are the cleaner and their hearts are the lighter; 
but I do doubt whether the offices are, on the whole, bet- 
ter manned. 

As what I now write will certainly never be read till I am 
dead, I may dare to say what no one now does dare to say 
in print — though some of us whisper it occasionally into 
our friends' ears— there are places in life which can hardly 
be well filled except by *^ gentlemen." The word is one 
the use of which almost subjects one to ignominy. If I 
say that a judge should be a gentleman, or a bishop, I am 
met with a scornful allusion to "nature's gentlemen." 
Were I to make such an assertion with reference to the 
House of Commons, nothing that I ever said again would 
receive the slightest attention. A man in public life could 
not do himself a greater injury than by saying in public 
that the commissions in the army or navy, or berths in the 
civil service, should be given exclusively to gentlemen. He 
would be defied to define the term, and would fail should he 
attempt to do so. But he would know what he meant, and 
80, very probably, would they who defied him. It maybe 
^hat the son of the butcher of the village shall become as 


well fitted for employments requiring gentle culture as the 
son of the parson. Such is often the case. When such is 
the case, no one has been more prone to give the butcher's 
son all the welcome he has merited than myself; but the 
chances are greatly in favor of the parson's son. The gates 
of the one class should be open to the other; but neither 
to the one class nor to the other can good be done by de- 
claring that there are no gates, no barrier, no difference. 
The system of competitive examination is, I think, based 
on a supposition that there is no difference. 

I got into my place without any examining. Looking 
back now, I think I can see with accuracy what was then 
the condition of my own mind and intelligence. Of things 
to be learned by lessons I knew almost less than could be 
supposed possible after the amount of schooling I had 
received. 1 could read neither French, Latin, nor Greek. 
I could speak no foreign language, and I may as well say 
here as elsewhere that I never acquired the power of really 
talking French. I have been able to order my dinner and 
take a rai}way ticket, but never got much beyond that. 
Of the merest rudiments of the sciences I was completely 
ignorant. My handwriting was, in truth, wretched. My 
spelling was imperfect. There was no subject as to which 
examination would have been possible on which I could 
have gone through an examination otherwise than dis- 
'gracefully. And yet I think I knew more than the aver- 
age of young men of the same rank who began life at 
nineteen. J could have given a fuller list of names of the 
poets of all countries, with their subjects and periods — 
and probably of historians — than many others; and had, 
perhaps, a more accurate idea of the manner in which my 
own country was governed. I knew the names of all the 
bishops, all the judges, all the heads of college^ and all 
the cabinet ministers— not a very useful knowledge, in- 
deed, but one that had not been acquired without other 
iwatter which was more useful. 1 had read Shakespeare 


and Byron and Scott, and could talk about them. The 
music of the Miltonic line was familiar to me. I had al- 
ready made np my mind that*' Pride and Prejudice'* was 
the best novel in the English language — a palm which I 
only partially withdrew after a second reading of ** Ivan- 
hoe," and did not completely bestow elsewhere till "Es- 
mond " was written. And though I would occasionally 
break down in my spelling, I could write a letter. If I 
had a thing to say, I could so say it in written words that 
the readers should know what I meant — a power which is 
by no means at the command of all those who come out 
from these competitive examinations with triumph. Early 
in life, at the age of fifteen, I had commenced the danger- 
ous habit of keeping a journal, and this I maintained for 
ten years. The volumes remained in my possession un- 
regarded — never looked at — till 1870, when I examined 
them, and, with many blushes, destroyed them. They 
convicted me of folly, ignorance, indiscretion, idleness, 
extravagance, and conceit. But they had habituated me 
to the rapid use of pen and ink, and taught me how to 
express myself with facility. 

I will mention here another habit which had grown upon 
me from still earlier years — which I myself often regarded 
with dismay when I thought of the hours devoted to it, 
but which, I suppose, must have tended to make me what 
I have been. As a boy, even as a child, I was thrown 
much upon myself. I have explained, when speaking of 
my school-days, how it came to pass that other boys would 
not play with me. I was therefore alone, and had to form 
my plays within myself. Play of some kind was necessary 
to me then, as it has always been. Study was not my 
bent, and I could not please myself by being all idle. 
Thus it came to pass fhat I was always going about with 
some castle in the air firmly built witTiln my mind. Nor 
were these efiforts in architecture spasmodic, or subject to 
constant change from day to day. For weeks, for months. 


if I remember rightly, from year to year, I would carry on 
the same tale, binding myself down to certain laws, to cer- 
tain, proportions, and proprieties, and unities. Nothing 
impossible was ever introduced, nor even anything which, 
from outward circumstances, would seem to be yiolently 
improbable. I myself was, of course, my own hero. Such 
is a necessity-of castle-building. But I never became a 
king, or a duke — much less, when my height and personal 
appearance were fixed, could I be an Antinous, or six feet 
high. I never was a learned man, nor even a philosopher. 
But I was a very clever person, and beautiful young wom- 
en used to be fond of me. And 1 strove to be kind of 
heart, and open of hand, and noble in thought, despising 
mean things; and altogether I was a very much betteir 
fellow than I have ever succeeded in being since. Thi& 
had been the occupation of my life for six or seven years^ 
before I went to the Post-ofl&ce, and was by no means, 
abandoned when I commenced my work. There can, I 
imagine, hardly be a more dangerous mental practice; but 
I have often doubted whether, had it not been my prac- 
tice, I should ever have written a novel. I learned in this 
way to maintain an interest in a fictitious story, to dwell 
on a work created by my own imagination, and to live in 
a world altogether outside the world of my own material 
life. In after-years I have done the same, with this dif- 
ference, that I have discarded the hero of my early dreams, 
and have been able to lay my own identity aside. 

I must certainly acknowledge that the first seven years 
of my official life were neither creditable to myself nor 
useful to the public service. These seven years were 
passed in London, and during this period of my life it was 
my duty to be present every morning at the office punct- 
ually at 10 A. M. I think I commenced my quarrels with 
the authorities there by having in my possession a watch 
which was always ten minutes late. I know that I very 
soon achieved a character for irregularity, and came to be 


regarded as a black sheep by men around me who were 
not themselves, T think, very good public servants. From 
time to time rumors reached me that if I did not take care 
I should be dismissed; especially one rumor, in my early 
days, through my dearly beloved friend, Mrs. Clayton 
Creeling — who, as I write this, is still living, and who, 
-with tears in her eyes, besought me to think of my mother. 
That was during the life of Sir Francis Freeling, who 
died — still in harness— a little more than twelve months 
after I joined the office. And yet the old man showed me 
signs of almost affectionate kindness, writing to me with 
his own hand more than once from his death-bed. 

Sir Francis Freeling was followed at the Post-office by 
€oloncl Maberly, who certainly was not my friend. I do 
not know that I deserved to find a friend in my new 
master, but I think that a man with better judgment would 
not have formed so low an opinion of me as he did. Years 
have gone by, and I can write now, and almost feel, with- 
out anger; but I can remember well the keenness of my 
anguish when I was treated as though I were unfit for any 
useful work. I ^did struggle — not to do the work, for 
there was nothing which was not easy without any strug- 
gling, but to show that I was willing to do it. My bad 
character, nevertheless, stuck to me, and was not to be got 
rid of by any efforts within my power. I do admit that I was 
irregular. It was not considered to be much in my favor 
that I could write letters— which was mainly the work of 
our office — rapidly, correctly, and to the purpose. The 
man who came at ten, and who was always still at his desk 
at half -past four, was preferred before me, though when 
at his desk he might be less efficient. Such preference 
was, no doubt, proper; but, with a little encouragement, I 
also would have been punctual. I got credit for nothing, 
and was reckless. 

As it was, the conduct of some of us was very bad. 
yhere was a comfortable sitting-room up-stairs, devoted 


to the use of some one of our number "iylio, in turn, was 
required to remain in the place all night. Hither one or 
two of us would adjourn after lunch, and play ecarU for 
an hour or two. ' I do not know whether such ways are 
possible now in our public oflSces. And here we used to 
have suppers and card-parties at night — great symposiums, 
with much smoking of tobacco; for in our part of the 
building there lived a whole bevy of clerks. These were 
gentlemen whose duty it then was to make up and receive 
the foreign mails. I do not remei»ber that they worked 
later or earlier than the other sorting-clerks; but there 
was supposed to be something special in foreign letters, 
which required that the men who handled them should 
have minds undistracted by the outer world. Their sala- 
ries, too, were higher than those of their more homely 
brethren; and they paid nothing for their lodgings. Con- 
sequently, there was a somewhat fast set in those apart- 
ments, given to cards and to tobacco, who drank spirits- 
and-water in preference to tea. I was not one of them, 
but was a good deal with them. 

I do not know that I should interest my readers by say- 
ing much of my Post-oflBce experiences in those days, I 
was always on the eve of being dismissed, and yet was 
always striving to show how good a public servant I could 
become, if only a chance wore given me. But the chance 
went the wrong way. On one occasion, in the perform- 
ance of my duty, I had to put a private letter containing 
bank-notes on the secretary's table, which letter I had duly- 
opened, as it was not marked Private. The letter was seen 
by the colonel, but had not been moved by him when he 
left the room. On his return it was gone. In the mean- 
time I had returned to the room again, in the performance 
of some duty. When the letter was missed I was sent for, 
and there I found the colonel much moved about this let- 
ter, and a certain chief clerk, who, with a long face, was 
making suggestions as to the probable fate of the money. 


" The letter has been taken," said the colonel, turning to 
me angrily, " and, by G — ! there has been nobody in the 
room but you and I." As he spoke, he thundered his fist 
down upon the table. ** Then,"" said I, "by Gr — ! you 
have taken it," and I also thundered my fist down — but, 
accidentally, not upon the table. There was there a stand- 
ing movable desk, at which, I presume, it was the col- 
oners habit to write, and on this movable desk was a large 
bottleful of ink. My fist unfortunately came on the desk, 
and the ink at once -^ew up, covering the colonel's face 
and shirt-front. Then it was a sight to see that senior 
clerk, as he seized a quire of blotting-paper, and rushed 
to the aid of his superior ofiBcer, striving to mop up the 
ink; and a sight also to see the colonel, in his agony, hit 
right out through the blotting-paper at that senior clerk's 
unoffending stomach. At that moment there came in the 
colonel's private secretary, with the letter and the money, 
and I was desired to go back to my own room. This was 
an incident not much in my favor, though I do not know 
that it did me special harm. 

I was always in trouble. A young woman down in the 
country had taken it into her head that she would like to 
marry me, and a very foolish young woman she must have 
been to enterLain such a wish. I need not tell that part of 
the story more at length, otherwise than by protesting 
that no young man in such a position was ever much less 
to blame than I had been in this. The invitation had 
come from her, and I had lacked the pluck to give it a 
decided negative; but I had left the honae within half an 
hour, going away without my dinner, and had never 
returned to it. Then there was a correspondence — ff that 
can be called a corrospondence in whicli all the letters 
came from one side. At last the mother appeared at the 
Post-office. My hair almost stands on my head now as I 
remember the figure of the woman walking into the big 
room in which I sat with six or seven other clerks, having 


a large basket on her arm and an immense bonnet on her 
head. The messenger had vainly endeavored to persuade 
her to remain in the anteroom. She followed the man in, 
and, walking up the center of the room, addressed me in a» 
loud voice: "Anthony Trollope, when are you going to 
marry my daughter?" We have all had oar worst mo- 
ments, and that was one of my worst. I lived through it, 
however, and did not marry the young lady. These little 
incidents were all against me in the office. 

And then a certain other phase of my private life crept 
into oflacial view, and did me a damage. As I shall ex- 
plain just now, I rarely at this time had any money where- 
with to pay my bills. In this state of things a certain 
tailor had taken from me an acceptance for, I think, £12, 
which found its way into the hands of a money-lender. 
With that man, who lived in a little street near Mecklen- 
burgh Square, I formed a most heartrending but a most 
intimate acquaintance. In cash I once received from him 
£4. Epr that and for the original amount of the tailor's 
bill, which grew monstrously under repeated renewals, I 
paid ultimately something over £200. That is so common 
a story as to be hardly worth the telling; but the peculiarity 
of this man was that he became so attached to me as to 
visit me every day at my office. For a long period he found 
it to be worth his while to walk up those stone steps daily, 
and come and stand behind my chair, whispering to me 
always the same words: " Now I wish you would be punct- 
ual. If you only would be punctual, I should like you to 
have anything you want." He was a little, clean old man, 
who always wore a high, starched, white cravat, inside 
which he had a habit of twisting his chin as he uttered his 
caution. When I remember the constant persistency of 
his visits, I cannot but feel that he was paid very badly for 
his time and trouble. Those visits were very terrible, and 
can hardly have been of service to me in the office. 

Of one other misfortune which happened to me in those 


days I must tell the tale. A junior clerk in the secretary's 
oflSce was always told off to sleep upon the premises, and 
he was supposed to be the presiding genius ol the estab- 
lishment when the other members of the secretary's de- 
partment had left tlie building. On an occasion when I 
■was still little more than a lad, perhaps one-and-twenty 
years old, I was filling this responsible position. At about 
seven in the evening word was brought to me that the 
Queen of, I think, Saxony, but I am sure it was a queen, 
'i<r«nted to see the night mails sent out. At this time, 
■when there were many mail coaches, this was a show, and 
august visitors would sometimes come to see it. But 
preparation was generally made beforehand, and some 
pundit of the office would be at hand to do the honors. 
On this occasion we were taken by surprise, and there was 
no pundit. I therefore gave the orders, and accompanied 
her majesty around the building, walking backward, as I 
conceived to be proper, and often in great peril as I did 
80, up and down the stairs. I was, however, quite satis- 
fied with my own manner of performing an unaccustomed 
and most important duty. There were two old gentlemen 
with her majesty, who, no doubt, were German barons, 
and an ancient baroness also. They had come and, when 
they had seen the sights, took their departure in two glass 
coaches. As they were preparing to go I saw the two 
barons consulting together in deep whispers, and then as 
the result of that conversation one of them handed me a 
half-crown! That also was a bad moment. 

I came up to town, as I said before, purporting to live 
a jolly life upon £90 per annum. I remained seven years 
in the General Post-office, and when I left it my income 
was £140. During the whole of this time I was hopelessly 
in debt. There were two intervals, amounting together 
to nearly two years, in which I lived with my mother, and 
therefore lived in comfort— but even then I was over- 
whelmed with debt. She paid much for me— paid all that 


I asked her to pay, and all that she could find out that I 
owed. But who in such a condition ever tells all and 
makes a clean breast of it? The debts, of course, were 
not large, but I cannot think now how I could have lived, 
and sometimes have enjoyed life, with such a burden of 
duns as I endured. Sheriff's officers, with uncanny docu- 
ments, of which I never understood anything, were com- 
mon attendants on me. And yet I do not remember that 
I was ever locked up, though I think I was twice a pris- 
oner. In such emergencies some one paid for me. And 
now, looking back at it, I have to ask myself whether my 
youth was very wicked. I did no good in it; but was 
there fair ground for expecting good from me? When I 
reached London no mode of life was prepared for me — no 
advice even given to me. I went into lodgings, and then 
had to dispose of my time. I belonged to no club, and 
knew very few friends who would receive me into their 
houses. In such a condition of life a young man should^ 
no doubt, go home after his work, and spend the long 
hours of the evening in reading good books and drinking 
tea. A lad brought up by strict parents, and without 
having had even a view of gayer things, might perhaps 
do so. I had passed all my life at public schools, where 
I had seen gay things, but had never enjoyed them. To- 
ward the good books and tea no training had been given 
me. There was no house in which I could habitually see 
a lady's face and hear a lady's voice. No allurement; to 
decent respectability came in my way. It seems to me 
that in such circumstances the temptations of loose life 
will almost certainly prevail v/ith a young man. Of 
course, if the mind be strong enough, and the general 
stuff knitted together of sufficiently stern material, the 
temptations will not prevail. But such minds and such 
material are, I think, uncommon. The tetnptation, at 
any rate, prevailed with me. 
I wonder how many young men fall utterly to pieces 


from being turned loose into London after the same fash- 
ion. Mine was, I think, of all phases of such life the most 
dangerous. The lad who is sent to mechanical work has 
longer hours, during which he is kept from danger, and 
has not generally been taught in his boyhood to anticipate 
pleasure. He looks for hard work and grinding circum- 
stances. I certainly had enjoyed but little pleasure, but 
I had been among those who did enjoy it and were taught 
to expect it. And I had filled my mind with the ideas of 
such joys. And now, except during official hours, I was 
entirely without control — without the influences of any 
decent household around me. I have said something of 
the comedy of such life, but it certainly had its tragic 
aspect. Turning it all over in my own mind, as I have 
constantly done in after-years, the tragedy has always been 
uppermost. And so it was as the time was passing. 
Could there be any escape from such dirt? I would ask 
myself; and I always answered that there was no escape. 
The mode of life was itself wretched. I hated the office. 
I hated my work. More then all I hated my idleness. * I 
had often told myself since I left school that the only 
career in life within my reach was that of an author, and 
the only mode of authorship open to me that of a writer of 
povels. In the journal which I read and destroyed a few 
years since, I found the matter argued out before I had 
been in the Post-office two years. Parliament was out of 
the question. I had not means to go to the Bar. In 
official life, such as that to which I had been introduced, 
there did not seem to be any opening for real success. 
Pens and paper I could command . PoetVy I did not be- 
lieve to be within my grasp. The drama, too, which I 
would fain have chosen, I believed to be above me. For 
history, bio^-aphy, or essay writing I had not sufficient 
erudition. But I thought'^it possible that I might writea 
novel. I had resolved very early that in thaC shape must 
the attempt be made. But the months and years ran on. 


and no attempt was made. And yet no day was passed 
without thoughts of attempting, and a mental acknowl- 
edgment of the disgrace of postponing it. What reader 
will not understand the agony of remorse produced by such 
a condition of mind? The gentleman from Mecklenburgh 
Square was always with me in the morning — always 
angering me by his hateful presence — but when the 
evening came I could make no struggle toward getting rid 
ef him. 

In those days I read a little, and did learn to read 
French and Latin. I made myself familiar with Horace, 
and became acquainted with the works of our own greatest 
poets. I had my strong enthusiasms, and remember 
throwing out of the window in Northumberland Street, 
where I lived, a volume of Johnson^s "Lives of the Poets," 
because he spoke sneeringly of Lycidas. That was North- 
umberland Street by the Marylebone Workhouse, on to 
the back-door of which establishment my room looked out 
— a most dreary abode, at which I fancy I must have al- 
most ruined the good-natured lodging-house keeper by my 
constant inability to pay her what I owed. 

How I got my daily bread I can hardly remember, but I 
do remember that I was often unable to get myself a din 
ner. Young men generally now have their meals provided 
for them. I kept house, as it were. Every day I had to 
fiiid myself with the day's food. For my breakfast I could 
get some credit at the lodgings, though that credit would 
frequently come to an end. But for all that I had often 
bieakfast to pay day by day; and at your eating-house 
credit is not given. I had no friends on whom I could 
sponge regularly. Out on the Fulham Road I had an 
uncle, but his house was four mil^^ from the Post-office, 
and almost as far from my own Jodgings. Then came bor- 
rowings of money, sometimes absolute want, and almost 
constant misery. 

Before I tell how it came about that I left this wretched 


life, I must say a word or two of the friendships which 
lessened its misfortuues. My earliest friend in life wa* 
John Merivale, with whom I had been at school at Sun- 
bury and Harrow, and who was a nephew of my tutor, 
Harry Drury. Herman Merivale, who afterward be- 
came my friend, was bis brother, as is also Charles Meri- 
vale, the historian, and Dean of Ely. I knew John when 
I was ten years old, and am happy to be able to say that 
he is going to dine with me one day this week. I hope- 
I may not injure his character by stating that in those 
days I lived very much with him. He, too, was impecu- 
nious, but he had a home in London, and knew but little 
of the sort of penury which I endured. For more than 
fifty years he and I have been close friends. And then 

there was one W A , whose misfortunes in life will 

not p«rmit me to give his full name, but whom I 
dearly loved. He had been at Winchester and at Oxford, 
and at both place^had fallen into trouble. He then be- 
came a schoolmaster — or, perhaps, I had better say usher 
— and finally he took orders. But he was unfortunate in 
all things, and died some years ago in poverty. He wa& 
most perverse; bashful to very fear of a lady's dress; un- 
able to restrain himself in anything, but yet with a con- 
science that was always stinging him; a loving friend,, 
though very quarrelsome; and perhaps, of all men I have 
known, the most humorous. And he was entirely un- 
conscious of his own humor. He did not know that he 
could so handle all matters as to create infinite amusement 

out of them. Poor W A ! To him there came no 

happy turning-point at which life loomed seriously on 
him, and tlien became prosperous. 

W A , Merivale, and I formed a little club,. 

which was called the Tramp Society, and subjected to 
certain rules, in obedience to which we wandered on foot 
about the counties adjacent to London. Southampton 
waB the furthest point we ever reached; but Buckingham- 


shire and Hertfordshire were more dear to us. These 
were the happiest hours of my then life — and perhaps not 
the least innocent, although we were frequently m peril 
-from the village authorities whom we outraged. Not to 
pay for any conveyance, never to spend above five shillings 
a day, to obey all orders from the elected ruler of the hour 
(this enforced under heavy fines), were among our statutes. 

I would fain tell here some of our adventures: how A- 

enacted an escaped madman and we his pursuing keepers, 
and so got ourselves a lift in a cart, from which we ran 
away as we approached the lunatic asylum; how we were 
turned out of a little town at night, the townsfolk fright- 
ened by the loudness of our mirth; and how we once crept 
into a hayloft and were awakened m the dark morning by 
a pitchfork — and how the juvenile owner of that pitch- 
fork fled through the window when he heard the com- 
plaints of the wounded man! But the fun was the fun of 
W A , and would cease to be f uq. as told by me. 

It was during these years that John Tilley, who has 
now been for many years the permanent senior officer of 
the Post-office, married my sister, whom he took with him 
into Cumberland, where he was stationed as one of our 
surveyors. He has been my friend for more than forty 
jears; as has also Peregrine Birch, a clerk in the House of 
Lords, who married one of those daughters of Colonel 
Grant who assisted us in the raid we made on tJie goods 
which had been seized by the sheriff's officer at Harrow. 
These have been the oldest and dearest friends of my life; 
and I can thank God that three of them are still alive. 

When I had been nearly seven years in the secretary's 
office of the Post-office, always hating my position there, 
and yet always fearing that I should be dismissed from it, 
there came a way of escape. There had latterly been 
created in the service a new body of officers called sHr- 
veyors' elerks. There were at that time seven surveyors 
in England, two in Scotland, and three in Ireland. To 


each of these officers a clerk bad been lately attached, 
whose duty it was to travel about the country under the 
surveyor's orders. There had been much doubt among 
the young men in the office whether they should or should 
Dot apply for those places. The emoluments were good 
and the work alluring; but there was at first supposed to 
be something derogatory in the position. There was a 
rumor that the first surveyor who got a clerk sent the 
clerk out to fetch his beer; and that another had called 
upon his clerk to send the linen to the wash. There was, 
however, a conviction that nothing could be worse than 
the berth of a surveyor's clerk in Ireland. The clerks 
were all appointed, however. To me it had not occurred 
to ask for anything, nor would anything have been given 
me. But after a while there came a report from the far 
west of Ireland that the man sent there was absurdly in- 
capable. It was probably thought then that none but a 
man absurdly incapable would go on such a mission to the 
west of Ireland. When the report reached the London 
office I was the first to read it. I was at that time in dire 
trouble, having debts on my head and quarrels with our 
secretary-colonel, and a full conviction that my life was 
taking me downward to the lowest pits. So I went to 
the colonel boldly, and volunteered for Ireland if he would 
send me. He was glad to be so rid of me, and I went. 
This happened in August, 1841, when I was twenty-six 
years old. My salary in Ireland was to be but £100 a 
year; but I was to receive fifteen shillings a day for every 
day that I was away from home, and sixpence for every 
mile that I traveled. The same allowances were made in 
England; but at that time traveling in Ireland was done 
at half the English prices. My income in Ireland, after 
paying my expenses, became at once £400. This was the 
first good fortune of my life. 




In the preceding pages I have given a short record of 
the firsfc twenty-six years of my life, years of suffering, 
disgrace, and inward remorse. I fear that my mode 
of telling will have left an idea simply of their ab- 
surdities; but in truth I was wretched, sometimes almost 
unto death, and have often cursed the hour in which I 
was born. There had clung to me a feeling that I had 
been looked upon always as an evil, an encumbrance, a 
useless thing, as a creature of whom those connected with 
him had to be ashamed. And I feel certain now that in 
my young days I was so regarded. Even^ my few friend&> 
■who had found with me a certain capacity for enjoyment, 
were half afraid of me. I acknowledge the weakness of a 
great desire to be loved, of a strong wish to be popular with 
my associates. No child, no boy, no lad, no young man, 
had ever been less so. And I had been so poor; and so little 
able to bear poverty. But from the day on which I set 
my foot in Ireland all these evils went away from me. 
Since that time who has had a happier life than mine? 
Looking round upon all those I know, I cannot put my 
hand upon one. But all is not over yet. And, mindful 
of that, remembering how great is the agony of adversity, 
how crushing the despondency of degradation, how sus- 
ceptible I am myself to the misery coming from contempt, 
remembering also how quickly good things may go and 
evil things come, I am often again tempted to hope, almost 
to pray, that the end may be near. Things may be going 
well now: 

Bin aliquem infandum casum, Fortuna, minaris; 
Nunc, nunc liceat crudelem abrumpere vitam. 


There is unhappiness so great that the very fear of it is an 
alloy to happiness. I had then lost my father, and sister, 
and brother, have since lost another sister and my mother; 
but I have never as yet lost a wife or a child. 

When I told my friends that I was going on this mission 
to Ireland they shook their heads, but said nothing to 
dissuade me. I think it must have been evident to all 
who were my friends that my life in London was not a 
success. My mother and elder brother were at this time 
abroad, and were not consulted; did not even know my in- 
tention in time to protest against it. Indeed, I consulted 
no one, except a dear old cousin, our family lawyer, from 
whom I borrowed £200 to help me out of England. He 
lent me the money, and looked upon me with pitying eyes, 
shaking his head. " After all, you were right to go," he 
said to me when I paid him the money a few ye^rs after- 

But nobody then thought I was right to go. To become 
clerk to an Irish surveyor, in Connaught, with a salary of 
£100 a year, at twenty-six years of age! I did not think 
it right even myself, except that anything was right which 
would take me away from the General Post-oflfice and from 

My ideas of the duties I was to perform were very vague, 
as were also my ideas of Ireland generally. Hitherto I had 
passed my time seated at a desk, either writing letters my- 
self, or copying into books those which others had written. 
I had never been called upon to do anything I was unable 
or unfitted to do. I now understood that in Ireland I was 
to be a deputy-inspector of country post-ofiBces, and that 
among other things to be inspected would be the post- 
masters' accounts! But as no other person asked a question 
as to my fitness for this work, it seemed unnecessary for 
me to do so. 

On the 15th of September, 1841, I landed in Dublin, 
without an acquaintance in the country, and with only 


two or three letters of introdugtion from a brother clerk 
in the Post-office. I had learned to think that Ireland 
was a land flowing with fun and whisky, in which irregu- 
larity was the rule of life, and where broken heads were 
looked upon as honorable badges. I was to live at a place 
called Banagher, on the Shannon, which I had heard of 
because of its having once been conquered, though it had 
heretofore conquered everything, including the devil. 
And from Banagher my inspecting tours were to be made,, 
chiefly into Connaught, but also over a strip of country 
eastward, which would enable me occasionally to run up 
to Dublin. I went to a hotel, which was very dirty, and 
after dinner I ordered some whisky punch. There was an 
excitement in this, but when the punch was gone I was 
very dull. It seemed so strange to be in a country in 
which there was not a single individual whom I had ever 
spoken to or ever seen. And it was to be my destiny to 
go down into Connaught and adjust accounts, the destiny 
of me, who had never learned the multiplication table, or 
done a sum in long division! 

On the next morning I called on the secretary of the 
Irish Post-office, and learned from him that Colonel Ma- 
berly had sent a very bad character with me. He could 
not have sent a very good one; but I felt a little hurt when 
I was informed by this new master that he had been in- 
formed that I was worthless, and must in all probability 
be dismissed. ^* But," said the new master, "I shall 
judge vou by your own merits." From that time to the 
day on which I left the service I never heard a word of 
censure, nor had m«ny months passed before I found that 
my services were valued. Before a year was over I had 
acquired the character of a thoroughly good public servant. 

The time went very pleasantly. Some adventures I had; 
two of which I told in the " Tales of All Countries," un- 
der the names of **The O'Conors of Castle Conor," and 
"Father Giles of BWlymoy." I will not swear to every 


detail in these stories, but the main purport of each is 
true. I could tell many others of the same nature, were 
this the place for them. I found that the surveyor to 
whom I had been sent kept a pack of hounds, and there- 
fore I bought a hunter. I do not think he liked it, but 
he could not well complain. He never rode to hounds 
himself, but I did; and then and .thus began one of the 
great joys of my life. I have ever since been constant to 
the sport, having learned to love it with an affection which 
I cannot myself fathom or understand. Surely no man 
has labored at it as I have done, or hunted under such 
drawbacks as to distances, money, and natural disadvan- 
tages. I am very heavy, very blind, have been — in refer- 
ence to hunting — a poor man, and am now an old man. I 
have often had to travel all night outside a mail-coach, in 
order that I might hunt the next day. Nor have I ever 
been in truth a good horseman. And I have passed the 
greater part of my hunting life under the discipline of the 
civil service. But it has been for more than thirty years a 
duty to me to ride to hounds; and I have performed that 
duty with a persistent energy. Nothing has ever been al- 
lowed to stand in the way of hunting, neither the writing 
of books, nor the work of the Post-office, nor other pleas- 
ures. As regarded the Post-office, it soon seemed to be 
understood that I was to hunt; and when my services were 
retransferred to England, no word of difficulty ever 
reached me about it. I have written on very many sub- 
jects, and on most of them with pleasure; but on no^ub- 
ject with such delight as that on hunting. I have drag- 
ged it into many novels, into too mamy, no doubt, but I 
have always felt myself deprived of a legitimate joy when 
the nature of the tale has not allowed -me a hunting 

Perhaps that which gave me the greatest delight was 
the description of a run on a horse accidentally taken from 
another sportsman, a circumstance \^hich occurred to my 


dear friend Charles Buxton, who Will be remembered as 
one of the members for Surrey. 

It was altogether a very jolly life that I led in Ireland. 
I was always moving about, and soon found myself to be 
in pecuniary circumstances which were opulent in com- 
parison with those of my past life. The Irish people did 
Kot murder me, nor did they even break my head. I 
soon found them to be good-humored, clever — the work- 
ing classes very much more intelligent than those of Eng- 
land — economical, and hospitable. We hear much of their 
spendthrift nature; but extravagance is not the nature of 
an Irishman. He will count the shillings in a pound ranch 
more accurately than an Englishman, and will with much 
more certainty get twelve pennyworth from each. But 
they are perverse, irrational, and but little bound by the 
love of truth. I lived for many years among them — not 
finally leaving the country until 1859, and I had the 
means of studying their character. 

I had not been a fortnight in Ireland before I was sent 
down to a little town in the far west of County Gal way, to 
balance a defaulting postmaster's accounts, find out how 
much he owed, and report upon his capacity to pay. In 
these days such accounts are very simple. They adjust 
themselves from day to day, and a Post-office surveyor has 
nothing to do with them. At that time, though the sums 
dealt with were small, the forms of dealing with them 
-were very intricate. I went to work, however, and made 
that defaulting postmaster teach me the use of those 
forms. I then succeeded In balancing the account, and 
had no difficulty whatever in reporti»g that he was alto- 
gether unable to pay his debt. Of course, he was dismissed ; 
"but he had been a very useful man to me. I never had 
any further difficulty in the matter. 

But my chief work was the investigating of complaints 
made by the public as to postal matters. The practice of 
the office was and is to send one of its servants to the snot 


to see the complainant and to inquire into the facta, wheit 
the complainant is suflficiently energetic or sufficiently 
big to make himself well heard. A great expense ia 
often incurred for a very small object; but the system; 
works well on the whole, as confidence is engendered, and 
a feeling is produced in the country that the department 
has eyes of its own and does keep them open. This em- 
ployment was yery pleasant, and to me always easy, as it 
required at its close no more than the writing of a report. 
There were no accounts in this business, no keeping of 
books, no necessary manipulation of multitudinous forme, 
I must tell of one such complaint and inquiry, because in 
its result I think it was emblematic of many. 

A gentleman in County Cavan had complained most 
bitterly of the injury done to him by some arrangement 
of the Post-office. The nature of his grievance has no 
present significance; but it was so unendurable that he 
had written many letters, couched in the strongest lan- 
guage. He was most irate, and indulged himself in that 
scorn which is so easy to an angry mind. The place 
was not in my district, but I was borrowed, being young 
and strong, that I might remove the edge of his per- 
sonal wrath. It was mid-winter, and I drove up to his 
house— a squire's country-seat— in the middle of a snow- 
storm, just as it was becoming dark. I was on an open 
jaunting-car, and was on my way from one little town 
to another, the cause of his complaint having reference 
to some mail conveyance between the two. I was cer- 
tainly very cold, and very w#t, and very uncomfortable 
when I entered his house. I was admitted by a butler, 
but the gentleman himself hurried into the hall. I at 
once began to explain my business. '' God bless mel" he 
said, ''you are wet through. John, get Mr. TroUope 
some brandy-and-water— very hot." I was beginning my 
story about the post again when he himself took off my 
greatcoat, and suggested that I should go up to my bed- 


room before I troubled myself with business. '' Bed- 
room!" I exclaimed. Then he assured me that he would 
not turn a dog out on such a night as that, and into a bed- 
room I was shown, having first drank the brandy-and- 
water standing at the drawing-room fire. When I came 
down I was introduced to his daughter, and the three of us 
went in to dinner. I shall never forget his righteous in- 
dignation when I again brought up the postal question on 
the departure of the young lady. Was I such a Goth as to 
contaminate wine with business? So I drank my wine, 
and then heard the young lady sing, while her father slept 
in his arm-chair. I spent a very pleasant evening, but my 
host was too sleepy to hear anything about the Post-oflBce 
that night. It was absolutely necessary that I should go 
away the next morning after breakfast, and I explained 
that the matter must be discussed then. He shook his 
head and wrung his hands in unmistakable disgust — almost 
in despair. "But what am I to say in my report?'* I 
asked. *' Anything you please," he said. "Don't spare 
me, if you want an excuse for yourself. Here I sit all the 
day, with nothing to do; and I like writing letters." I did 

report that Mr. was now quite satisfied with the postal 

arrangement of his district, and I felt a soft regret that I 
should have robbed my friend of his occupation. Perhaps 
he was able to take up the Pdor-law Board, or to attack 
tlie Excise. At the Post-office nothing more was heard 
from him. 

I went on with the hunting surveyor at Banagher for 
tliree years, during which, at Kingstown, the watering- 
place near Dublin, I met Rose Hoseltine, the lady who has 
flince become my wife. The engagement took place when 
I had been just one year in Ireland, but there was still a 
delay of two years before we could be married. She had 
no fortune, nor had I any income beyond that which came 
from the Post-office; and there were still a few debts, 
which would have been paid off, no doubt, sooner but for 


that purchase of the horse. When I had been nearly three 
years in Ireland we were married, on the 11th of June, 
n844; and perhaps I ought to name that happy day as the 
commencement of my better life, rather than the day on 
which I first landed in Ireland. 

For though during these three years I had been jolly 
enough, I had not been altogether happy. The hunting, 
the whisky punch, the rattling Irish life — of which I 
could write a volume of stories were this the place to tell 
them — were continually driving from my mind the still- 
cherished determination to become a writer of novels. 
When I reached Ireland I had never put pen to paper, nor 
had I done so when I became engaged. And whei\ I was 
married, being then twenty-nine, I had only written the 
first volume of my first work. This constant putting off 
of the day of work was a great sorrow to me. I certainly 
had not been idle in my new berth. I had learned my 
work, so that every one concerned knew that it was safe in 
my hands; and I held a position altogether the reverse of 
that in which I was always trembling while I remained in 
London. But that did not sufl&ce — did not nearly suffice. 
I still felt that there might be a career before me, if I 
could only bring myself to begin the work. I do not think 
I much doubted my own intellectual sufficiency for the 
writing of a readable novel. What I did doubt was my 
own industry, and the chances of the market. 

The vigor necessary to prosecute two professions at the 
same time is not given to every one, and it was only lately 
that I had found the vigor necessary for one. There must 
be early hours, and I had not as yet learned to love early 
hours. I Avas still, indeed, a young man; but hardly 
young enough to trust myself to find the power to alter 
the habits of my life. And I had heard of the difficulties 
of publishing— a subject of which I shall have to say much 
should I ever bring this memoir to a close. I had dealt 
already with publishers on my mother's behalf, aqd knew 


that many a tyro who could fill a manuscript lacked the 
power to put his matter before the public; and I knew, 
too, that when the matter was printed, how little had then 
been done toward the winning of the battle! I had already 
learned that many a book — many a good book — 

" is born to blush unseen, 
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.'* 

But still the purpose was strong within me, and the first 
effort was made after the following fashion. I was located 
at a little town called Drumsna, or, rather, village, in the 
County Lei trim, where the postmaster had come to some 
sorrow about his money; and my friend John Merivale 
was staying with me for a day or two. As we were taking 
a walk in that most uninteresting country, we turned up 
through a deserted gateway, along a weedy, grass-grown 
avenue, till we came to the modern ruins of a country- 
house. It was one of the most melancholy spots I ever 
visited. I will not describe it liere, because I have done 
so in the first chapter of my first novel. We wandered 
about the place, suggesting to each other causes for the 
misery we saw there, and while I was still among the 
mined walls and decayed beams I fabricated the plot of 
'* The Macdermots of Ballycloran." As to the plot itself, 
I do not know that I ever made one so good — or, at any 
rate, one so susceptible of pathos. lam aware that I broke 
down in the telling, not having yet studied the art. Never- 
theless, '* The Macdermots " is a good novel, and worth 
reading by any one who wishes to understand what Irish 
life was before the potato disease, the famine, and the 
Encumbered Estates Bill. 

When my friend left me, I set to work and wrote the 
first chapter or two. Up to this time I had continued 
that practice of castle-building of which I have spoken, 
but now the castle I built was among the ruins of that old 
house. The book, however, hung with me. It was only 


now and then that I found either time or energy for a tew 
pages, I commenced the book in September, 1843, and 
had only written a volume when I was married, in June, 

My marriage was like the marriage of other people, and 
of no special interest to any one except my wife and me. 
It took place at Rotherham, in Yorkshire, where lier 
father was the manager of a bank. We were not very 
rich, having about £400 a year on which to live. Many 
people would say that we were two fools to encounter 
such poverty together. I can only reply that since that 
day I have never been without money in my pocket, and 
that I soon acquired the means of paying what I owed. 
Nevertheless, more than twelve years had to pass over 
our heads before I received any payment for any literary 
work which afforded an appreciable increase to our in- 

Immediately after our marriage I left the west of Ire- 
land and the hunting surveyor, and joined another in the 
south. It was a better district, and I was eliabled to live 
at Clonmel, a town of some importance, instead of at 
Banagher, which is little more than a village. I had nok 
felt myself to be comfortable in my old residence, as a 
married man. On my arrival there as a bachelor I had 
been received most kindly, but when I brought my 
English wife I fancied that there was a feeling that I had 
behaved badly to Ireland generally. When a young man 
has been received hospitably in an Irish circle, I will not 
say that it is expected of him that he should marry some 
young lady in that society — but it certainly is expected of 
him that he shall not marry any young lady out of it. I 
had given offense, and I was made to feel it. 

There has taken place a great change in Ireland since 
the days in which I lived at Banagher, and a change so 
much for the better that I have sometimes wondered at 
the obduracy with wliich people have spoken of the per- 


manent ill condition of the country. Wages are now 
nearly double what they were then. The Post-ofl&ce, at 
any rate, is paying almost double for its rural labor— 95. 
a week where it used to pay 5s., and 12s. a week where it 
used to pay 7s. Banks have sprung up in almost every 
village. Rents are paid with more than English punctu- 
ality. And the religious enmity between the classes, 
though it is not yet dead, is dying out. Soon after I 
reached Banagher, in 1841, I dined one evening with a 
Roman Catholic. I was informed next day, by a Protestant 
gentleman who had been very hospitable to me, that I 
must choose my party. I could not sit both at Protestant 
and Catholic tables. Such a caution would now be im- 
possible in any part of Ireland . Home-rule, no doubt, is 
a nuisance; and especially a nuisance because the pro- 
fessors of the doctrine do not at all believe it themselves. 
There are, probably, no other twenty men in England or 
Ireland who would be so utterly dumfounded and pros- 
trated were Home-rule to have its way as the twenty Irish 
members who profess to support it in the House of Com- 
mons. But it is not to be expected that nuisances such 
as these should be abolished at a blow. Home-rule is, 
at any rate, better and more easily managed than the re- 
bellion at the close of the last century; it is better than 
the treachery of the Union; less troublesome than O'Con- 
neirs monster meetings; less dangerous than Smith 
O'Brien and the battle of the cabbage-garden at Ballin- 
garry, and very much less bloody than Fenianism. The 
descent from O'Connell to Mr. Butt has been the natural 
declension of a political disease, which we had no right to 
hope would be cured by any one remedy. 

When I had been married a year my first novel was fin- 
ished. In July, 1845, I took it with me to the north of 
England, and intrusted Uie manuscript to my motlier, to 
do with it the best she could among the publishers in Lon- 
don. No one had read it but my wife; nor, as far as I am 


aware, has any other friend of mine eve^ read a word of 
my writing before it was printed. She, I think, has so 
read almost everything, to my very great advantage in 
matters of taste. I am sure I have never asked a friend ta 
i*ead a line; nor have I ever read a word of my own writing 
alond, even to her. With one exception — which shall be 
mentioned as I come to it — I have never consulted a friend 
as to a plot, or spoken to any one of the work I have been 
doing. My first manuscript I gave up to my mother, 
agreeing with her that it would be as well that she should 
not look at it before she gave it to a publisher. I knew 
that she did not give me credit for the sort of cleverness 
necessary for such a work. I could see in the faces and 
hear in the voices of those of my friends who were around 
me at the house in Cumberland — my mother, my sister, 
my brother-in-law, and, I think, my brother — that they 
had not expected me to come out as one of the family 
authors. There were three or four in the field before me, 
and it seemed to be almost absurd that another should 
wish to add himself -to the number. My father had writ- 
ten much — those long ecclesiastical descriptions — quite 
unsuccessfully. My mother had become one of the popu- 
lar authors of the day. My brother had commenced, and 
had been fairly well paid for his work. My sister, Mrs,^ 
Tilley, had also written a novel, which was at the time in 
manuscript — which was published afterward without her 
name, and was called '* Chollerton." I could see that this 
attempt of mine was felt to be an unfortunate aggravation 
of the disease. 

My mother, however, did the best she could for me, and 
goon reported that Mr. Newby, of Mortimer Street, was 
to publish the book. It was to be printed at his expense, 
and he was to give me half the profits. Half the profits! 
Many a young author expects much from such an under- 
taking. I can with truth declare that I expected nothing. 
And I got nothing. Nor did I expect fame, or even ao- 


knowledgment. I was sure that the book would fail, and 
it did fail most absolutely. I never heard of a person 
reading it in those days. If there was any notice taken 
of it by any critic of the day, I did not see it. I never 
asked any questions about it, or wrote a single letter on 
the subject to the publisher. I have Mr. Newby's agree- 
ment with me, in duplicate, and one or two preliminary 
notes; but beyond that I did not have a word from Mr. 
Newljy. I am sure that he did not wrong me in that he 
paid me nothing. It is probable that he did not sell tifty 
copies of the work; but of what he did sell he gave me no* 

I do not remember that I felt in any way disappointed 
or hurt. I am quite sure that no word of complaint 
passed my lips. I think I may say that after the publicar 
tion I never said a word about the book, even to my wife; 
The fact that I had written and published it, and that I 
was writing another, did not in the least interfere with 
my life or with my determination to make the best I could 
of the Post-oflBce. In Ireland, I think that no one knew 
that I had written a novel. But I went on writing. " The 
Macdermots " was published in 1847, and " The Kellys and 
the O'Kellys " followed in 1848. I changed my publisher^ 
but did not change my fortune. This second Irish story 
was sent into the world by Mr. Colburn, who had long been 
my mother's publisher, who reigned in Great Marlborougli 
Street, and I believe created the business wTiich is now 
carried on by Messrs. Hurst & Black ett. He had pre- 
viously been in partnership with Mr. Bentley, in New 
Burlington Street. I made the same agreement as before 
as to half profits, and with precisely the same results. 
The book was not only not read, but was never heard of — 
at any rate, in Ireland. And yet it is a good Irish story, 
much inferior to '*The Macdermots" as to plot, but su- 
perior in the mode of telling. Again I held my tongue, 
and not only said nothing, but felt nothing. Any success 


would, I think have carried me off my legs, but I was 
altogether prepared for failure. Though I thoroughly 
enjoyed the writing of these books, I did not imagine, 
when the time came for publishing them, that any one 
would condescend to read them. 

But in reference to **The O'Kellys " there arose a cir- 
cumstance which set my mind to work on a subject which 
has exercised it much ever since. I made my first ac- 
quaintance with criticism. A dear friend of mine, to 
whom the book had been sent — as have all my books — 
wrote me word to Ireland that he had been dining at some 
club with a man high in authority among the gods of the 
Times newspaper, and that this special god had almost 
promised that *' The O'Kellys" should be noticed in that 
most influential of "organs." The information moved 
me very much; but it set me thinking whether the notice, 
should it ever appear, would not have been more valuable, 
at any rate, more honest, if it had been produced by other 
means; if, for instance, the writer of the notice bad been 
instigated by the merits or demerits of the book instead 
of by the friendship of a friend. And I made up my mind 
then that, should I continue this trade of authorship, I 
would have no dealings with any critic on my own behalf. 
I would neither ask for nor deplore criticism, nor would 
I ever thanlf a critic for praise, or quarrel with him, even 
in my own heart, for censure. To this rule I have adhered 
with absolute strictness, and this rule I would recommend 
to all young authors. What can be got by touting among 
the critics is never worth the ignominy. The same may 
of course be said of all things acquired by ignominious 
means. But in -this matter it is so easy to fall into the 
dirt. Facilis descensus Averni, There seems to be but 
little fault in suggesting to a friend that a few words in this 
or that journal would be of service. But any praise so 
obtained must be an injustice to the public, for whose in- 
fltruotion, and not for the sustentatioa of the author, such 


notices are intended. And from such mild suggestion the 
descent to crawling at the critic's feet, to the sending of 
presents, and at last to a mutual understanding between 
critics and criticised, is only too easy. Other evils follow, 
for the denouncing of which this is hardly the place; 
though I trust I may find such place before my work is 
finished. I took no notice of my friend's letter, but I was 
not the less careful in watching the Times, At last the 
review came— a real review in the Times. I learned it by 
heart, and can now give, if not the words, the exact pur- 
port. ** Of ' The Kellys and the O'Kellys ' we may say 
what the master said to his footman, when the man com- 
plained of the constant supply of legs of mutton on the 
kitchen table. * Well, John, legs of mutton are good sub- 
stantial food;* and we may say also what John replied: 
* Substantial, sir; yes, they are substantial, but a little 
coarse.' " That was the review, and even that did not 
sell the book! 

From Mr. Colburn I did receive an account, showing 
that 375 copies of the book had been printed, that 140 
had been sold — to those, I presume, who liked substan- 
tial food though it was coarse — and that he had incurred 
a loss of £63 105. l^d. The truth of the account I never 
for a moment doubted; nor did I doubt the wisdom of the 
advice given to me in the following letter, though I never 
thought of obeying it: 

"Great Marlborough Street, 
** November 11, 1848. 

''My deae Sir,— I am sorry to say that absence from 
town and other circumstances have prevented me from 
earlier inquiring into the results of thesaleof *The Kellys. 
and the O'Kelly's/ with which the greatest efforts have 
been used, but in vain. The sale has been, I regret to 
say, so small that the loss upon the publication is very 
considerable; and it appears clear to me that although, 
in consequence of the great number of novels that are 
published, the sale of each, with some few exceptions, 
must be Bmall, yet it ie evident that readers do not like 


novels on Irish subjects as well as on others. Thus you 
will perceive it is impossible for me to give any encourage- 
ment to you to proceed in novel-writing. 

*' As, however, I understand you have nearly finished 
the novel 'La Vendue,* perhaps you will favor me with a 
sight of it when convenient. 

"I remain, etc., etc., H. CoLBURiir." 

This, though not strictly logical, was a rational letter, 
telling a plain truth plainly. I did not like the assurance 
that '* the greatest efforts had been used," thinking that 
any efforts which might be made for the popularity of a book 
ought to have come from the author; but I took in good 
part Mr. Colburn's assurance that he could not encourage 
me in the career I had commenced. 1 would have bet 
twenty to one against my own success. But by continu- 
ing I could lose only pen and paper; and if the one chance 
in twenty did turn up in my favor, then how much might 
1 win! 




1 HAD at once gone to work on a third novel, and .had 
nearly completed it, when I was informed of the absolute 
failure of the former. I find, however, that tlie agreement 
for its publication was not made till 1850, by which time 
I imagine that Mr. Colburn must have forgotten the dis- 
astrous result of " The O'Kellys," as he thereby agrees to 
give me £20 down for my* 'new historical novel, to be 
called * La Vendue.' " He agreed also to pay me £30 more 
when he had sold 350 copies, and £50 more should he sell 
450 within six months. I got my £20, and then heard no 
more of *' La Vendue,*' not even receiving any account. 
Perhaps the historical title had appeared more alluring to 


him than an Irish subject; though it was not long after- 
ward that I received a warning from the very same house 
of business against historical novels— as I will tell at length 
when the proper time comes. 

I have no doubt that the result of the sale of this story 
was no better than that of the two that had gone before. 
I asked no questions, however, and to this day had received 
no information. The story is certainly inferior to those 
wliich had gone before — chiefly because I knew accurately 
the life of the people in Ireland, and knew, in truth, 
nothing of life in the Vendee country, and also because 
the facts of the present time came more within the limits 
of my powers of story-telling than those of past years. 
But I read the book the other day, and am not ashamed 
of it. The conception as to the feeling of the people is, I 
think, true; the characters are distinct; and the tale is 
not dull. As far as I can remember, this morsel of criti- 
cism is the only one that was ever written on tlie book. 

I had, however, received £20. Alas! alas! years were 
to roll by before I should earn by my pen another shilling. 
And, indeed, I was well aware that I had not earned that; 
but that the money had been '' talked out of " the worthy 
publisher by the earnestness of my brother, who made the 
bargain for me. I have known very much of publishers 
and have been surprised by much in their mode of busi- 
ness—by the apparent lavishness and by the apparent 
hardness to authors, in the same men— but by nothing so 
much as by the ease with which they can occasionally be 
persuaded to throw away small sums of money. If you 
will only makeiihe payment future instead of present, you 
may generally twist a few pounds in your own or your 
client's favor. "You might as well promise her £30» 
This day six months will do very well." The publisher, 
though he knows that the money will never come back to 
him, thinks it worth his while to rid himself of your 
importunity at so cheap a price. 


But while I was writing *' La Vendee " I made a literary 
attempt in another direction. In 1847 and 1848 there had 
come upon Ireland the desolation and destruction, first, of 
the famine, and then of the pestilence which succeeded the 
famine. It was my duty at that time to be traveling 
constantly in those parts of Ireland in which the misery 
and troubles thence arising were, perhaps, at their worst. 
The western parts of Cork, Kerry, and Clare were pre- 
eminently unfortunate. The efforts — I may say the suc- 
cessful efforts — made by the government to stay the hands 
of death will still be in the remembrance of many — how 
Sir Robert Peel was instigated to repeal the Corn-laws; 
and how, subsequently. Lord John Russell took measures 
for employing the people, and supplying the country with 
Indian corn. The expediency of these latter measures 
was questioned by many. The people themselves wished, 
of course, to be fed without working; and the gentry, 
who were mainly responsible for the rates, were disposed 
to think that the management of affairs was taken too 
much out of their own hands. My mind at the time was 
busy with the matter, and, thinking that the government 
was right, I was inclined to defend them as far as my 
small powers went. S. G. 0, (Lord Sydney Godolphin 
Osborne) was at that time denouncing the Irish scheme 'of 
the administration in the 7Ymes,using very strong language, 
as those who remember his style will know. I fancied 
then — as I still think — that I understood the country 
much better than he did; and I was anxious to show that 
the steps taken for mitigating the terrible evil of the times 
were the best which the minister of the day could have 
adopted. In 1848 I was in London, and, full of my pur- 
pose, I presented myself to Mr. John Forster— who has 
since been an intimate and valued friend — but who was 
at that time the editor of the Examiner, I think that 
that portion of the literary world which understands the 
iabrication of newspapers will admit that neither before 


his time, nor sincp, has there been a more capable editor 
of a weekly newspaper. As a literary man, he was not. 
without his faults. That which the cabman is reported 
to have said of him before the magistrate is quite true! 
He was always "an arbitrary cove." As a critic, he be- 
longed to the school of Bentley and Gifford — who would 
always bray in a literary mortar all critics who disagreed 
with them, as though such disagreement were a personal 
offense requiring personal castigation. But that very 
eagerness made him a good editor. Into whatever he did 
he put his very heart and soul. During i/^ time the 
Examiner was almost all that a Liberal weekly paper 
should be. So to John Forster I went, and was shown 
into that room in " Lincoln's Inn Fields in which, some 
three or four years earlier, Dickens had given that reading 
of which there is an illustration, with portraits, in th^e 
second volume of his Life. 

At this time I knew no literary men. A few I had met 
when living with my mother, but that had been now so 
long'ago that all such acquaintance had died out. ^knew 
who they were, as far as a man could get such knowledge 
from the papers of the day, and felt myself as in part be- 
longing to the guild, through my mother, and in some de- 
gree by my own unsuccessful efforts. But it was not 
probable that any one would admit my claim; nor on this 
occasion did I make any claim. I stated my mime and 
official position, and the fact that opportunities had been 
given me of seeing the poor-houses in Ireland, and of mak- 
ing myself acquainted with the circumstances of the time. 
Would a series of letters on tlie subject be accepted by the 
Examiner 9 The great man, who loomed very large to me, 
was pleased to say that if the letters should recommend 
themselves by their style and matter, if they wert* nob too 
long, and if — every reader will know how on such occa- 
sions an editor will guard himself — if this and if that, 
they should be favonibly entertained. They were favor- 


ably entertained, if printing and publication be favorable 
entertainment. But I heard no more of them. The world 
did not declare the government had at last been adequately 
defended, nor did the treasurer of the Examiner send me 
a check in return. 

Whether there ought to have been a check I do not even 
yet know. A man who writes a single letter to a news- 
paper of course is not paid for it, nor for any number of 
letters on some point personal to himself. I have since 
written sets of letters to newspapers, and have been paid 
for them; but then I have bargained for a price. On this 
occasion I had hopes; but they never ran high, and I was 
not much disappointed. I copy now of those let- 
ters, and could not refer to them without much trouble; 
nor do I remember what I said. But I know that 1 did 
my best in writing them. 

When my historical novel failed, as completely as had 
its predecessors, the two Irish novels, I began to ask my- 
self whether, after all, that was my proper line. I had 
never thought of questioning the justice of the verdict 
expressed against me. The idea ^that I was the unfortu- 
nate ownev of unappreciated genius never troubled me. I 
did not look at the books after they were published, 
feeling sure that they had been, as it were, damned with 
good reason. But still I was clear in my mind that I 
would not lay down my pen. Then and therefore I de- 
termined to chapge my hand, and to attempt a play. I 
did attempt the play, and in 1850 I wrote a comedy, partly 
in blank verse, and partly in prose, called ''The iJoblo 
Jilt." The plot I afterward used in a novel called "Can 
You Forgive Her?" I believe that I did give the best of 
my intellect to the play, and I must own that when it was 
completed it pleased me much. I copied it, and re-copied 
it, touching it here and touching it there, and then sent 
it to my very old friend, George Hartley, the actor, who 
had, when I was in London, been stage-manager of one of 


the great theaters, and who would, I thought, for my own 
sake and for my mother's, give me the full benefit of his 
professional experience. 

I have now before me the letter which he wrote to me — 
a letter which I have read a score of times. It was alto- 
gether condemnatory. '^ When I commenced," he said, 
" I had great hopes of your production. I did not think 
it opened dramatically, but that might have been reme- 
died." I knew then that it was all over. But as my old 
friend warmed to the-subject, the criticism became stronger 
and stronger, till my ears tingled. At last came the fatal 
blow. ** As to the character of your heroine, I felt at a 
loss how to describe it, but you have done it for me in the 
last speech of Madame Brudo." Madame Brudo was the 
heroine's aunt. " * Margai*et, my child, never play the 
jilt again; 'tis a most unbecoming character. Play it with 
what skill you will, it meets but little sympathy.' And 
this, be assured, would be its effect upon an audience. So 
that I must reluctantly add that, had I been still a manager, 
' The Noble Jilt' is not a play I could have recommended 
for production." This was a blow that I did feel. The 
neglect of a book is a disagreeable fact which grows upon 
an author by degrees. There is no special moment of 
agony — no stunning violence of condemnation. But a 
piece of criticism such as this, from a friend, and from a 
man undoubtedly capable of forming an opinion, was a 
blow in the face! But I accepted the judgment loyally, 
and said not a word on the subject to any one. I merely 
showed the letter to my wife, declaring my conviction that 
it must bo taken as gospel. And as critical gospel it has 
since been accepted. In later days I have more than once 
read the play, and I know that he was right. The dia- 
logue, however, I think to be good, and I doubi: whether 
some of the scenes be not the brightest and best work I 
ever did. 
Jnst at this time another literary project loomed before 


my eyes, and for six or eight months had considerable 
size, I was introduced to Mr, John Murray, and pro- 
posed to him to write a Handbook for Ireland. I ex- 
plained to him that I knew the country better than most 
other people, perhaps better than any other person, and 
could do it well. He asked me to make a trial of my skill, 
and to send him a certain number of pages, undertaking 
to give me an answer within a fortnight after he should 
bafe received my work. I went back to Ireland, and for 
some weeks I labored very hard. I " did " the city of 
Dublin, and the county of Kerry, in which lies the lake 
scenery of Killarney; and I ''did " the route from Dub- 
lin to Killarney, altogether completing nearly a quarter 
of the proposed volume. The roll of manuscript was sent 
to Albemarle Street — but was never opened. At the 
expiration of nine months from the date on which it 
reached that time-honored spot it was returned without a 
word, in answer to a very angry letter from myself, I in- 
sisted on having back my property — and got it. I need 
hardly say that my property has never been of the slight- 
est use to me. In all honesty I think that, had he been 
less dilatory, John Murray would have got a very good 
Irish Guide at a cheap rate. 

Early in 1851 I was sent upon a job of special ofBcial 
work, which for two years so completely absorbed my 
time that I was able to write nothing, A plan was 
formed for extending the rural delivery of letters, and for 
adjusting the work, which up to that time had been 
done in a very irregular manner. A country letter- 
carrier would be sent in one direction, in which there 
were but few letters to be delivered, the arrangement 
having originated problkbly at the request of some in- 
fluential person, while in another direction there was no 
letter-carrier, because no influential person had exerted 
himself. It was intended to set this right throughout 
England, Ireland, and Scotland; and I quickly did the 


work in the Irish district to which I was attached. I 
was then invited to do the same in a portion of England, 
and I spent two of the happiest years of my life at,the task. 
I began in Devonshire, and visited, I think I may say, 
every nook in that county, in Cornwall, Somersetshire, 
the greater part of Dorsetshire, the Channel Islands, 
part of Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Worces- 
tershire, Herefordshire, Monmouthshire, and the six 
southern Welsh counties. In this way I had an oppor- 
tunity of seeing a considerable portion of Great Britain, 
with a minuteness which few have enjoyed. And I did 
my business after a fashion in which no other official 
man has worked, at least for many years. I went al- 
most everywhere on horseback, I had two hunters of 
my own, and here and there, where I could, I hired a 
third horse. I had an Irish groom with me, an old 
man, who has now been in my service for thirty-five 
years; and in this manner I saw almost every house — I 
thhik I may say every house of importance— in this large 
district. The object was to create a postal network 
which should catch all recipients of letters. In France 
it was, and I suppose still is, the practice to deliver every 
letter. Wherever the man may live to whom a letter is 
addressed, it is the duty of some letter-carrier to take 
that letter to his house, sooner or later. But this, of 
course, must be done slowly. With us a delivery much 
delayed was thought to b6 worse than none at all. In some 
pLices we did establish posts three times a week, and per- 
haps occasionally twice a week, but such halting arrange- 
ments were considered to be objectionable, and we were 
bound down by a salutary law as to expense, which came 
from our masters at the Treasury. We were not allowed 
to establish any messenger's walk on which a sufficient 
number of letters would not be delivered to pay the man's 
wages, counted at a halfpenny a letter. But then thfe 
counting was in our own 'hands, and an enterprising offl- 


cial might be sanguiue in his figures. I think I was 
sanguine. I did not prepare false aocountB; but I fear 
that the postmasters and clerks who absolutely had the 
country to do became aware that T was anxious for 
good results. It is amusing to watch how a passiou 
will grow upon a man. During those two years it was 
the ambition of my life to cover the country with rural 
letter-carriers. I do not remember that in any case a 
rural post proposed by me was negatived by the authori- 
ties; but I fear that some of them broke down afterward 
as being too poor, or because, in my anxiety to include 
this house and that, I had sent the men too far afield. 
Our law was that a man should not be required to walk 
more than sixteen miles a day. Had the work to be done 
been all on a measured road, there would have*b«en no 
need for doubt as to the distances. But my letter-car- 
riers went here and there across the fields. It was my 
special delight to take them by all short-cuts; and as I 
measured on horseback the short-cuts which they would 
have to make on foot, perhaps I was sometimes a little 
unjust to them. 

All this I did on horseback, riding on an average forty 
miles a day. I was paid sixpence a mile for the distance 
traveled, and it was necessary that I should, at any rate, 
travel enough to pay for my equipage. This I did, and 
got my hunting out of it also. I have often surprised 
some small country post-master, who had never seen or 
heard of me before, by coming down upon him at nine 
in the morning, with a red coat and boots and breeches, 
and interrogating him as to the disposal of every letter 
which came into his office. And in the same guise I 
would ride up to farmhouses, or parsonages, or other lone 
residences about the country, and ask the people how 
they got their letters, at what hour, and especially whether 
they were delivered free or at a certain charge. For a 
habit had crept into use, which came to be, in my eyes, 


at that time, the one sin for which there no pardon, 
in accordance with which these rural letter-carriers used 
to charge a penny a letter, alleging that the house was 
out of their beat, and that they must be paid for their 
extra work. I 'think that I did stamp out that evil. 
In ail these visits I was^ in truth, a beneficent angel to 
the public, bringing everywhere with me an earlier, 
cheaper, and mucli more regular delivery of letters. 
But not unfrequently the angelic nature of my mission 
was imperfectly understood. I was, perhaps, a little in 
a hurry to get on, and did not allow as much time as 
was necessary to explain to the wondering mistress of 
the house, or to an open-mouthed farmer, why it was 
that a man arrayed for hunting asked so many questions 
which might be considered impertinent, as Applying to 
his or her private affairs. ^' Good-morning, sir. I have 
just called to ask a few questions. I am a surveyor of 
the Post-oflBce. How do you get your lettoi's? As I 
am a little in a hurry^ perhaps you can explain at once." 
Then I would take out my pencil and notebook, and wait 
for information. And^ in fact, there was no other way in 
which the truth could be ascertained. Unless I came down 
suddenly as a summer's storm upon them, the very people 
who were robbed by our messengers would not confess the 
robbery, fearing the ill-will of the men. It was necessary 
to startle them into the revelations which I required them 
to make for their own go#d. And I did startle them. I 
became thoroughly used to it, and soon lost my native 
bashfulness — but sometimes my visits astonished the retir- 
ing inhabitants of country-houses. I did, however, do my 
work, and can look back upon what I did with thorough 
satisfaction. I was altogether in earnest; and I believe 
that many a farmer now has his letters brought daily to 
his house free of charge, who but for mo would still have 
had to send to the post-town for them twice a week, or 
to have paid a man for bringing them irregularly to his door. 


This work took up my time so completely, and entailed 
upon me so great an amount of writing, that I was, in 
fact, unable to do any literary work» From day to day I 
thought of it, still purporting to make another effort, and 
often turning over in my head some fragment of a plot 
which had occurred to me. But the day did not come in 
which I could sit down with pen ana paper and begin an- 
other novel. For. after all, wh;it could it be but a novel? 
The play had failed more absolutely than the novels, for 
the novels had attained the honor of print. The cause of 
this pressure of official work lay, not in the demands of 
the General Post-office, which more than once expressed 
itself as astonished 'by my celerity, but in the necessity 
which was incumbent on me to travel miles enough to pay 
for my horses^ and upon the amount of correspondence, 
returns, figures, and reports which such an amount of 
daily twveling brought with it. I may boast that the 
work was done very quickly and very thoroughly — with no 
fault but an over-eagerness to extend postal arrangements 
far and wide. 

In the course of the job I visited Salisbury, and while 
wandering there one midsummer evening round the pur- 
lieus of the cathedral I conceived the story of '*The 
Warden" — from whence came that series of novels of 
which Barchester, with its bishops, deans, and archdea- 
con, was the central site. I may as weU declare at once 
that no one at their commencement could have had less 
reason than myself to presume himself to be able to write 
about clergymen. I have been often asked in what period 
of my early life I had lived so long in a cathedral city as 
to have become intimate with the ways of a close. I never 
lived in any cathedral city, except Loudon, never knew 
anything of any close, and at that time had enjoyed no 
peculiar intimacy with any clergyman. My archdeacon, 
who has been said to be life-like, and for whom I confess 
that I have all a. parent's fond affection, was, I think, the 


simple result of an effort of my moral consciousness. It 
was such as that, in my opinion, that an archdeacon should 
be, or, at any rate, would be, with such advantages as an 
archdeacon might have; and lo! an archdeacon was pro- 
duced, who has been declared by competent authorities to 
be a rea) archdeacon down to the very ground. And yet, 
as far as I can remember, I had not then even spoken to 
an archdeacon. I have felt the compliment to be very 
great. The archdeacon came whole from my brain after 
this fashion; but in writing about clergymen generally, 1 
had to pick up as I went whatever I might know or pre- 
tend toknow about them. But my first idea had no refer- 
ence to clergymen iu general. I had been struck by two 
opposite evils, or what seemed to me to be evils, and with 
an absence of all art-judgment in such matters I thought 
that I might be able to expose them, or rather, to describe 
them, both in one and the same tale. The first evil was 
the possession by the Church of certain itinds and endow- 
ments which had been intended for charitables purposes, 
but which had been allowed to become incomes for idle 
Church dignitaries. There had been more than one 
such case brought to public notice at the time, in which 
there seemed to have been an egregious malversation 
of charitable purposes. The second evil was its very 
opposite. Though I had been much struck by the 
injustice above described, I had also often been an- 
gered by the undeserved severity of the newspapers 
toward the recipients of such incomes, who could 
hardly be considered to be the chief sinners in the 
matter. When a man is appointed to a place it is natural 
that he should acpept the income allotted to that place 
withoiit much inquiry. It is seldom that he will be the 
first to find out that his services are overpaid. Though 
he be called upon only to look beautiful and to bo dignified 
upon state occasions, he will think £2000 a year little 
enough for such beauty and dignity as he brings to the 


task. I felt that there had been some tearing to pieces 
which might have been spared. But I was altogether 
wrong in supposing that the two things could be combined. 
Any writer in advocating a cause must do so after the 
fashion of an advocate^ or his writing will be ineffective. 
He should take up one side and cling to that, and then he 
may be powerful. There should be no scruples of con- 
science. Such scruples make a man impotent for such 
work. It was open to me to have described a bloated 
parson, with a red nose and all other iniquities, openly 
neglecting every duty required from him, and living riot- 
ously on funds purloined from the poor, defying as he did 
so the moderate remonstrances of a virtuous press. Or 
I might have painted a man as good, as sweet, and as mild 
as my warden, who should also have been a hard-working, 
ill-paid minister of God's Word, and might have subjected 
him to the rancorous venom of some daily Jupiter, who, 
without a leg to stand on, without any true case, might 
have been induced, by personal spite, to tear to rags the 
poor clergyman, with poisonous, anonymous, and fero- 
cious leading articles. But neither of these programmes 
recommended it-self to my honesty. Satire, though it 
may exaggerate the vice it lashes, is not justified in 
creating it in order that it may be* lashed. Caricature 
may too easily become a slander, and satire a libel. I 
believed in the existence neither of the red-nosed clerical 
cormorant, nor in that of the venomous assassin of the 
journals. I did believe that through want of care, and 
the natural tendency of every class to take care of itself, 
money had slipped into the pockets of certain clergymen 
which should have gone elsewhere; ayd I believed also 
that through the equally natural propensity of men Jo be 
as' strong as they know how to be, certain writers of the 
press had allowed themselves to use language which was 
cruel, though it was in a good cause. But the two objects 
phould not have been combined — and I now know myself 


well enough to be aware that I was not the man to have 
carried out either of them. 

Nevertheless I thought much about it, and on the 29th 
of July, 1853, having been then two years without having 
made any literary effort, I began " The Warden," at Ten- 
bury, in Worcestershire. It was then more than twelve 
months since I had stood for an hour on the little bridge 
in Salisbury, and had made out to my own satisfaction the 
spot on which Hiram^s hospital should stand. Certainly, 
no work that I ever did took up so much of my thoughts. 
On this occasion I did no more than write the first chap- 
ter, even if so much. I had determined that my oflScial 
work should be moderated, so as to allow me some time 
for writing; but then, just at this time, I was sent to take 
the postal charge of the northern counties in Ireland, of 
Ulster, and the Counties Meath and Louth. Hitherto, in 
official language, I had been a surveyor's clerk, now I was 
to be a surveyor. The difference consisted mainly in an 
increase of income from about £450 to about £800 — for at 
that time the sum netted still depended on the number of 
miles traveled. Of course, that English work to which 
I had become so warmly wedded had to be abandoned. 
Other parts of England were being done by other men, 
and I had nearly finished the area which had been in- 
trusted to me. I should have liked to ride over the wJiole 
country, and to have sent a rural post letter-carrier to 
every parish, every village, every hamlet, and every grange 
in England. 

We were at this time very much unsettled as regards 
any residence. While we were living at Clonmel two sons 
had been born, who certainly were important enough to 
have been mentioned sooner. At Clonmel we had lived in 
lodgings, and from there had moved to Mallow, a town in 
the County Cork, where we had taken a house. Mallow 
was in the qenter of a hunting country, and had been very 
pleasant to me. But our house there had been given up 


when it was known that I should be detained in England; 
and then we had wandered about in the western counties, 
moying our headquarters from one town to another. 
During this time we had lived at Exeter, at Bristol, at 
Caermarthen, at Cheltenham, and at Worcester. Now wp 
again moved, and settled ourselves for eighteen months at 
Belfast. After that we took a house at Donnybrook, the 
well-known suburb of Dublin. 

The work of taking up a new district, which requires 
not only that the man doing it sliould know the nature of 
the postal arrangements, but also the characters and the 
peculiarities of the postmasters and their clerks, was too 
heavy to allow of my going on with my book at once. It 
was not till the end of 1853 that I recommenced it, and it 
was in the autumn of 1853 that I finished the work. It 
was only one small volume, and in later days would have 
been completed in six weeks, or in two months at the 
longest, if other work had pressed. On looking at the 
title-page, I find it was not published till 1855. I had 
made acquaintance, through my friend John Merivale, 
with William Longman, the publisher, and had received 
from him an assurance that the manuscript should be 
'Mocked at." It was *' looked at,'* and Messrs. Longman 
made me an offer to publish it at half profits. I had no 
reason to love 'Mialf profits," but I was very anxious to 
have my book published, and I acceded. It was now more 
than ten years since I had commenced writing '*The 
Macdermots," and I thought that if any success was to be 
achieved, the time surely had come. I had not been 
impatient; but, if there was to be a time, surely it had 

The novel reading world did not go mad about **The 
Warden;" but 1 soon felt that it had not failed as the 
others had failed. There were notices of it in the press, 
and I could discover that people around me knew that I 
had written a book. Mr. Longman was complimentary. 


and after a while informed me that there would be profits 
to divide. At the end of 1855 I received a check for £9 
Ss. Sd.y which was the first money I had ever earned by 
literary work — that £20 which poor Mr. Colburn had been 
made to pay certainly never having been earned at all. At 
the end of 1856 I received another snm of £10 15s. Id. 
The pecuniary success was not great. Indeed, as regarded 
remuneration for the time, stone-breaking would have 
done better. A thousand copies were printed, of which, 
after a lapse of five or six years, about three hundred had 
to be converted into another form, and sold as belonging 
to a cheap edition. In its original form ''The Warden" 
never reached the essential honor of a second edition. 

I have ah-eady said of the work that it failed altogether 
in the purport for which it was intended. But it has a 
merit of its own, a merit by my own perception of which 
I was enabled to see wherein lay whatever strength I did 
possess. The characters of the bishop, of the archdeacon, 
of the archdeacon's wife, and especially of the warden, 
are all well and clearly drawn. I had realized to myself 
a series of portraits, and had been able so to put them on 
the canvas that my readers should see that which I meant 
them to see. There is no gift which an author can have 
more useful to him than this. And the style of the En- 
glish was good, though, from most unpardonable careless- 
ness, the grammar was not unfrequently faulty. With 
such results I have no doubt but that I would at once be- 
gin another novel. 

I will here say one word as a long-deferred answer to an 
item of criticism which appeared in the Times newspaper 
as to " The Warden." In an article — if I remember 
rightly, on ''The Warden" and **Barchester Towers" 
combined — which I would call good-natnred, but that I 
take it for granted that the critics of the Times are actu- 
ated by higher motives than good-nature, that little book 
and its sequel are spoken of in terms which were very 


pleasant to the author. But there was added to this a 
gentle word of rebuke at the morbid condition of tho 
author's mind, which had prompted him to indulge in 
personalities — the personalities in question having refer- 
ence to some editor or manager of the Times newspaper. 
For I had introduced one Tom Towers sis being potent 
among the contributors to the Jupiter j under which name 
I certainly did allude to the Times. But at that time, 
living away in Ireland, I had not even heard the name 
of any gentleman connected with the Times ^newspaper, 
and could not have intended to represent any individual 
by Tom Towers. As I had created an archdeacon, so had 
I created a journalist, and the one creation was no more 
personal or indicative of morbid tendencies than the other. 
If Tom Towers was at all like any gentleman then con- 
nected with the TimeSy my moral consciousness must again 
have been very powerful. 




It was, I think, before I started on my English tours 
among the rural posts that I made my first attempt at 
writing for a magazine. I had read, soon after they came 
out, the first two volumes of Charles Merivale's '* History 
of the Romans under the Empire," and had got into some 
correspondence with the author's brother as to the author's 
views about Caesar. Hence arose in my mind a tendency 
to investigate the character of probably the greatest man 
who ever lived, which tendency in. after- years produced a 
little book of which I shall have to speak when its timo 
comes— and also a taste generally for Latin literature, 
which has been one of the chief delights of my later life. 


And I may say thab I became at this time as anxious 
about Caesar, and as desirous of reaching the truth as to 
his character, as we have all been in regard ik> Bismarck in 
these later days. I lived in Caesar, and debated with my- 
self constantly whether he crossed the Rubicon as a tyrant 
or as a patriot. In order that I might review Mr. Meri- 
Tale's book without feeling that I was dealing iMiwarrant- 
ably with a subject beyond me, I studied the '* Com- 
mentaries" thoroughly, and went through a mass of other 
reading which the object of a magazine article hardly 
justified, but which has thoroughly justified itself in tho 
subsequent pursuits of my life. I did write two articles, 
the first mainly on Julius Caesar, and the second on 
Augustus, which appeared in the Dublin Universit'i/ 
Magazine* Tliey were the result of very much labor, but 
there came from them no pecuniary product. I had been 
very modest when I sent them to the editor, as I had been 
when I called on John Forster, not venturing to suggest 
the subject of money. After a while I did call upon the 
proprietor of the magazine in Dublin, and was told by him 
that such articles were generally written to oblige friends, 
and that articles written to oblige friends were not usually 
paid for. The Dean of Ely, as the author of the work in 
question now is, was my friend; but I thiiik I was wronged, 
as I certainly had no intention of obliging liim by my 
criticism. Afterward, when I returned to Ireland, I 
wrote other articles for the same magazine, one of which, 
intended to be very savage in its denunciation, was on an 
official blue-book just then brought out, preparatory to 
the introduction of competitive examinations for the civil 
service. For that and some other article, I now forget 
what, I was paid. Up to the end of 1857 I had received 
£65 for the hard work of ten years. 

It was while I was engaged on "Barchester Towers'' 
that I adopted a system of writing which, for some years 
afterward, I found to be very serviceable to mo. My time 


was greatly occupied in traveling, and the nature of my 
traveling was now changed. I could not any longer do it 
on horseback. Railroads afforded me my means of con- 
veyance, and I found that I passed in railway-carriages 
very many hours of my existence. Like others, I used to 
read — though Carlyle has since told me that a man when 
traveling «hould not read, but ^' sit still and label his 
thoughts." But if I intended to make a profitable busi- 
ness out of my writing, and, at the same time, to do my 
best for the Post-office, I must turn these hours to more 
account than I could do even by reading. I made for 
myself, therefore, a little tablet, and found after a few 
days' exercise that I could write as quickly in a railway- 
carriage as I could at my desk. I worked with a pencil, 
^nd what I wrote my wife copied afterward. In this way 
was composed the greater part of *' Barchester Towers" 
and of the novel which succeeded it, and much also of 
others subsequent to them. My only objection to the 
practice came from the appearance of literary ostentation, 
to which I felt myself to be subject when going to work 
before four or five fellow-passengers. But I got used to 
it, as I had done to the amazement of the west country 
farmers' wives when asking them after their letters. 

In the writing of *' Barchester Towers "I took great 
delight. The bishop and Mrs. Proudie were very real to me, 
as were also the troubles of the archdeacon and the loves 
of Mr. Slope. When it was done, Mr. W. Longman re- 
quired that it should be subjected to his reader; and he re- 
turned the manuscript to me, with a most laborious and 
voluminous criticism— coming from whom I never knew. 
This was accompanied by an offer to print the novel on the 
half-profit system, with a payment of £100 in advance out 
of my half profits— on condition that I would comply with 
the suggestions made by his critic. One of theao 
Buggestions required that I should cut the novel down to two 
Tolumes. In my reply I went through the criticisms. 


rejecting one and accepting another, almost alternately, but 
declaring at last that no consideration should induce me to 
cut out a third of my work. I am at a loss to know how 
such a task could be performed. I could burn the manu- 
script, no doubt, and write another book on the same story; 
but how two words out of six are to be withdrawn from a 
written novel, I cannot conceive. I believe such tasks 
have been attempted— perhaps performed; but I refused to 
make even the attempt. Mr. Longman was too gracious 
to insist on his critic's terms; and the book was published, 
certainly none the worse, and I do not think much the 
better, for the care that had been taken with it. 

The work succeeded just as *' The Warden " had suc- 
ceeded. It achieved no great reputation, but it was one 
of the novels which novel-readers were called upon to read. 
Perhaps I may be assuming unto myself more than I have 
a right to do in saying now that *• Barchester Towers " has 
become one of those novels which do not die quite at once, 
whicli live and are read for perhaps a quarter of a century; 
but if that be so, its life has been so far prolonged by the 
vitality of some of its younger brothers. ** Barchester 
Towers '' would hardly be so well known as it is had there 
been no "Framfly Parsonage "and no " Last Chronicle of 

I received my £100, in advance, with profound delight. 
It was a positive and most welcome increase to my income, 
and -might probably be regarded as a first real step on the 
road to substantial success. I am well aware that there 
are many who think that an author in his authorship 
should not regard money — nor a painter, or sculptor, or 
composer, in his art. I do not know that this unnatural 
self-sacrifice is supposed to extend itself further. A bar- 
rister, a clergyman, a doctor, an engineer, and even actors 
and architects, may without disgrace follow the bent of 
human nature, and endeavor to fill their bellies and clothe 
their backs, and also those of their wives and children, as 


<;omfortable as they can, by the exercise of their abilities 
and their crafts. They may be as rationally realistic as 
may the butchers and the bakers; but the artist and the 
author forget the high glories of thejr calling if they con- 
-descend to make a money return a first object. They who 
preach this doctrine will be much offended by my theory, 
and by this book of mine, if my theory and my book come 
beneath their notice. They require the practice of a so- 
called virtue which is contrary to nature, and which, in 
my ej^es, would be no virtue if it were practiced. They 
are like clergymen who preach sermons against the love of 
money, but who know that the love of money is so distinct- 
ive a characteristic of humanity that such sermons are 
mere platitudes, called for by customary but unintelligent 
piety. All material progress has come from man's desire 
to do the best he can for himself and those about him, 
and civilization and Christianity itself have been made 
possible by such progress. Though we do not all of us 
argue this matter out within our breasts, we do all feel it; 
and we know that the more a man earns the more useful 
he is to his fellow-men. The most useful lawyers, as a rule, 
Lave been those who have made the greatest incomes— and 
it is the same with the doctors. It would be the same in 
the Church if they who have the choosing of bishops 
always chose the best man. And it has in truth been so 
too in art and authorship. Did Titian or Rubens dis- 
regard their pecuniary rewards? As far as we know, 
Shakespeare worked always for money, giving the best of 
his intellect to support his trade as an actor. In our own 
century what literary names stand higher than those of 
Byron, Tennyson, Scott, Dickens, Macaulay, and Carlyle? 
—and I think I may say that none of tliose great men 
neglected the pecuniary result of their laboi-s. Now and 
then a man may arise among us who, in any calling, 
whether it be in law, in physic, in religious teaching, iu 
art, or literature, may in his professional enthusiasm 


utterly disregard money. All will honor his enthusiasm, 
a'nd if he be wifeless and childless, his disregard of the 
great object of men's work will be blameless. But it is a 
mistake to suppose that a man is a better man because he 
despises money. Few do so, and those few in doing so 
suffer a defeat. Who does not desire to be hospitable to 
his friends, generous to the poor, liberal to all, muni6cent 
to his children, and to be himself free from the carking 
fear which poverty creates? The subject will not stand 
an argument; and yet authors are told that they should 
disregard payment for their work, and be content to de- 
Tote their unbought brains to the welfare of the public. 
Brains that are unbought will never serve the public much. 
Take away from English authors their copyrights, and you 
would very soon take away from England her authors. 

I say this here, because it is my purpose, as I go oii, to 
state what to me has been the result of my profession in 
the ordinary way in which professions are regarded; so 
that by my example may be seen what prospect there is 
that a man devoting himself to literature with industry, 
perseverance, certain necessary aptitudes, and fair average 
talents, may succeed in gaining a livelihood, as another 
man does in another profession. The result with me has 
"been comfortable but not splendid, as I think was to have 
been expected from the combination of such gifts. 

T have., certainly, also had always before my eyes the 
charms of reputation. Over and above the money view 
of the question, I wished from the beginning to be some- 
thing more than a clerk in the Post-office. To be known 
as somebody, to be Anthony Trollope, if it be no more, is 
to me much. The feeling is a very general one, and I 
think beneficent. It is that which has been called the 
'Mast infirmity of noble mind." The infirmity is so 
human that the man who lacks it is either above or below 
humanity. I own to the infirmity. But I confess that 
my first object in taking to literature as a profession was 


that which is common to the barrister when he goes to 
the bar, and to the baker when he sets up his oven. I 
wished to make an income on which I and those belonging 
to me might live in comfort. 

If, indeed, a man writes his books badly, or paints his. 
pictures badly, because he can make his money faster in 
that fashion than by doing them well, and at the sam& 
time proclaims them to be the best he can do, if, in fact, 
he sells shoddy for broadcloth, he is dishonest, as is any 
other fraudulent dealer. So may be the barrister, who 
takes money that be does not earn, or the clergyman who 
is content to live on a sinecure. No doubt the artist or 
the author may have a difficulty which will not occur to 
the seller of cloth, in settling within himself what is good 
"work and what is bad, when li\bor enough has been given, 
and when the task has been scamped. It is a danger as 
to which he is bound to be severe with himself — in which 
he ought to feel that his conscience ought to be set fairly 
in the balance against the natural bias of his interest. If 
he do not do so, sooner or later his dishonesty will be dis- 
covered, and will be estimated accordingly. But in this 
he is to be governed only by the plain rules of honesty 
which should govern us all. Having said so ri^uch I shall 
not scruple as I go on to attribute to the pecuniary result 
of my labors all the importance which I felt them to have 
at tlie time. 

'' Barchester Towers," for which I had received £100 
in advance, sold well enough to bring me further payments, 
—moderate payments — from the publishers. From that 
day up to this very time in which I am writing, that 
book and ''The Warden" together have given me almost 
every year some small income. I get the accounts 
very regularly, and I find that I have received £727 lis, 
dd. for the two. It is more than I goj; for the three or 
four works that came afterward, but the payments have 
been spread over twenty years. 


Wheu I went to Mr. Longman with my next novel, 
^'The Three Clerks," in my hand, I could not induce him 
to understand that a lump sum down was more pleasant 
than a deferred annuity. I wished him to buy it from 
me at a price which he might think to be a fair value, 
and I argued with him that as soon as an author has put 
himself into a position which insures a sufficient sale of 
his works to give a profit, the publisher is not entitled to 
exiTCct the half of such proceeds. While there is a pecun- 
iary" risk, tlie whole of whicli must be borne by tlie pub- 
lisher, such division is fair enough; but such a demand on 
the part of the publisher is monstrous as soon as the 
article produced is known to be a marketable commodity. 
I thought that I had now reached that point, but Mr. 
Longman did not agree with me. And he endeavored to 
convince me that I might lose more than I gained, even 
though I should get more money by going elsewhere. 
*' It is for you," said he, " to think whether our names on 
your title-page are not worth more to you than the in- 
creased payment." This seemed to me to savor of that 
high-flown doctrine of the contempt of mqney, which I 
have never admired. I did think much of Messrs. Long- 
man's name, but I liked it best at the bottom of a check. 

I was also scared from the august columns of Pater- 
noster Row by a remark made to myself by one of, the 
firm, which seemed to imply that they did not much care 
for works of fiction. Speaking of a fertile writer of tales 

who was not then dead, he declared that (naming the 

author in question) had spawned upon them (the publish- 
ers) three novels a year! Such language is perhaps justifi- 
able in regard to a man who shows so much of the fecund- 
ity of the herring; but I did not know how fruitful might 
bo my own muse, and I thought that I had better go else- 

I had then written " The Three Clerks," which, wlion 
I could not sell it to Messrs. Longman, I took in the l-rst 


instance to Messrs. Hurst & Blackett, who had become 
snccessors to Mr. Colbiirn. I had made an appointment 
with one of the firm, which, however, that gentleman was 
unable to keep. T was on my way from Ireland to Italy, 
and had bnt one clay in London in which to dispose of 
my manuscript. I sat for an hour in Great Marlborough 
Street, expecting the return of the peccant publisher wha 
had broken his tryst, and I was about to depart with my 
bundle nnder my arm when the foreman of the h^use 
came to me. He seemed to think it a pity that I should 
go, and wished me to leave my work with him. This, 
however, I would not do, unless he would undertake to 
buy it theu and there. Perhaps he lacked authority. 
Perhaps his judgment was against such purchase. But 
while we debated the matter, he gave me some advice. 
"I hope it's not historical, Mr. Trollope?" he said. 
"Whatever you do, don't be historical; your historical 
novel is not worth a damn." Thence I took ** The Three 
Clerks" to Mr. Bentley; and on the same afternoon suc- 
ceeded in selling it to him for £250. His son still possesses 
it, and the firm has, I believe, done very well with the 
purchase. It was certainly the best novel I had as yet 
written. The plot is not so good as that of "The Mac- 
dermots;" nor arc there any characters in the book equal 
to those of Mrs. Proudie and the warden; but the work 
has a more continued interest, and contains the first well- 
described love-scene that I ever wrote. The passage in 
which Kate Woodward, thinking that she will die, tries 
to take leave of the lad she loves, still brings tears to my 
eyes when I read it. I had not the heart to kill her. I 
never could do that. And I do not doubt bub that they 
are living happily together to this day. 

The lawyer Chaffanbrass made his first appearance in 
this novel, and I do not think that I have cause to bo 
ashamed of him. But this novel now is chiefly noticeable 
to mo from the fact that in it I introduced a character 


under the name of S!r Gregory Hardlines, by which I in- 
tended to lean very heavily on that much-loathed scheme 
of competitive examination, of which at that time Sir 
Charles Trevelyan was the great apostle. Sir Gregory 
Hardlines was intended for Sir Charles Trevelyan, as any 
one at the time would know who had taken an interest in 
the civil service. '' We always call him Sir Gregory," 
Lady Trevelyan said to me afterward when I came to 
lyiow her and her husband. I never learned to love com- 
petitive examination; but I became, and am, very fond of 
Sir Charles Trevelyan. Sir Stafford Northcote, who is 
now Chancellor of the Exchequer, was then leagued with 
his friend Sir Charles, and he too appears in " The Three 
Clerks" under the feebly facetious name of Sir Warwick 
West End. 

But for all that " The Three Clerks " was a good novel. 

When that sale was made I was on my way to Italy with 
my wife, paying a third visit there to my mother and 
brother. This was in 1S57, and she had then given up her 
pen. It was the first year in which she had not written, 
and she expressed to me her delight that her labors should 
be at an end, and that mine should be beginning in the 
same field. In truth they had already been continued for 
a dozen years, but a man's career will generally be held to 
date itself from the commencement of his success. On 
those fq;i*eign tours I always encountered adventures, 
which, as I look back upon them now, tempt me almost 
to write a little book of my long-past Continental travels. 
On this occasion, as we made our way slowly through. 
Switzerland and over the Alps, we encountered again and 
again a poor, forlorn Englishman, who had no friend and 
no aptitude for traveling. He was always losing his way, 
and finding himself with no scat in the coaches and no 
bed at the inns. On one occasion I found him at Coire 
seated at 5 a.m. in the coupe of a diligence which was 
intended to start at noon for the Engadine, while it was 


his purpose to go over the Alps in anoHier whioh was to leave 
at 5.30, and which was already crowded with passengers. 
*'Ah!" he said, "I am in time now, and nobody shall 
turn me out of this seat," alluding to former little mis- 
fortunes of which 1 had been a witness. When I explained 
to him his position, he was as one to whom life was too 
bitter to be borne. But he made his way into Italy, and 
encountered me again at the Pitti Palace in Florence, 
**Can you tell me something?" he said to me in a whisper,, 
having touched my shoulder. '^ The people are so ill- 
natured I don't like to ask them. "Where is it they keep 
the Medical Venus?" I sent him to the Ufl&zi, but I fear 
he was disappointed. 

We ourselves, however, on entering Milan, had been 
in quite as much distress as any that he suffered. We 
had not written for beds, and on driving up to a hotel 
at ten in the evening, found it full. Thence we went 
from one hotel to another, finding them all full. The 
misery is one well known to travelers, but I never heard 
of another case in which a man and his wife were told at 
midnight to get out of the conveyance into the middle of 
the street because the horse could not be made to go any 
further. Such was our condition. I induced the driver^ 
however, <o go again to the hotel which was nearest to 
'him, and which was kept by a German. Then I bribed 
the porter to get the master to come down to me; and, 
though my French is ordinarily very defective, I spoke 
with such eloquence to that German innkeeper that he, 
throwing his arms round my neck in a transport of com- 
passion, swore that he would never leave me nor my wife 
till he had put us to bed. And he did so; but, ah I there 
were so many in those beds! It is such an experience as 
this which teaches a traveling foreigner how different, on 
the Continent, is the accommodation provided for him, 
from that which is supplied for the inhabitants of the 


It was on a previous visit to Milan, when the telegraph- 
wires were only just opened to the public by the Austrian 
autliorities, that we had decided one day at dinner that we 
would go to Verona that night. There was a train at six, 
reaching Verona at midnight, and we asked some servant 
of the hotel to telegraph for us, ordering supper and beds. 
The demand seemed to create some surprise; but we per- 
sisted, and were only mildly grieved when we found our- 
selves charged twenty zwanzigers for the message. Tele- 
graphy was new at Milan, and the prices were intended to 
be almost prohibitory. "We paid our twenty zwanzigers 
and went on, consoling ourselves with the thought of our 
ready supper and our assured bed. "When we reached Verona 
there arose a great cry along the platform for Signer 
TroUope. I put out my head and declared my identity, 
when I was waited upon by a glorious personage, dressed 
like a beau for a ball, with half a dozen others almost as 
glorious behind him, who informed me, with his hat in 
his hand, that he was the landlord of the '*Due Torre." 
It was a heating moment, but it became more hot when 
he asked me after my people — mes gens, I could only 
turn* round and point to my Wife and brother-in-law. I 
had no other ''people." There were three carriages pro- 
vided for us, each with a pair of gray horses. When we 
reached the house it was all lit up. "We were not allowed 
to move without an attendant with a lighted candle. It 
was only gradually that the mistake came to be under- 
stood. On us there was still the horror of the bill, the 
extent of which could not be known till the hour of de- 
parture had come. The landlord, however, had acknowl- 
edged to himself that his inductions had been ill-founded, 
and he treated us with clemency. He had never before 
received a telgram. 

I apologize for these tales, which are certainly outsido 
my purpose, and will endeavor to tell no more that shall 
not have a closer relation to my story. I had finished 


" The Three Clerks " just before I left England, and when 
in Florence was cudgeling my brain for a new plot. Being 
then with my brother, I asked him to sketch me a plot, 
and he drew out that of my next novel, called " Doctor 
Thome." I mention this particularly, because it was th» 
only occasion in which I have had recourse to some other 
source than my own brains for the thread of a story. How 
f^r I may unconsciously have adopted incidents from what 
I have read — either from history or from works of imag^ 
ination — I do not know. It is beyond question that a man 
employed as I have been must do so. But when doing it 
I have not been aware that I have done it. I have never 
taketi another man's work, and deliberately framed my 
work upon it. I am far from censuring this practice in 
others. Our greatest masters in works of imagination 
have obtained such aid for themselves. Shakespeare dug 
out of such quarries wherever he could find them. Ben 
Jonson, with heavier hand, built up his structures on his 
studies of the classics, not thinking it beneath him to give, 
without direct acknowledgment, whole pieces translated 
both from poets and historians. But in those days no such 
acknowledgment was usual.- Plagiary existed, and was 
very common, but was not known as a sin. It is different 
now; and I think that an author, when he uses either the 
words or the plot of another, should own as much, de- 
manding to be credited with no more of the work than he 
has himself produced. I may say also that I have never 
printed as my own a word that has been written by others.* 
It might probably have "been better for my readers had I 
done so, as I am informed that '' Doctor Thorne," the 
novel of which I am now speaking, has a larger sale than 
any other book of mine. 

* I must make one exception to this declaration. The legal opinion 
as to heirlooms in "The Eustace Diamonds " was written for me hy 
Charles Merewether, the present Member for Northampton. 1 am 
told that it has become the ruling authority on the subject. 


Early in 1858, while I was writing " Doctor Thome," I 
was asked by the great men at the General Post-oflBce to 
go to Egypt to make a treaty with the Pasha for the con« 
veyance of our mails through that country by railway. 
There was a treaty in existence, but that had reference to 
the carriage of bags and boxes by camels from Alexandria- 
to Suez. Since its date the railway had grown, and was 
now nearly completed, and a new treaty was wanted. So 
I came over from Dublin to London, on my road, and 
again went to work among the publishers. The other 
novel was not finished; but I thought I had now progressed 
far enough to arrange a sale while the work was still on 
the stocks. I went to Mr. Bentley and demanded £400 — 
for the copyright. He acceded, but came to me the next 
morning at the General Post-office to say that it could not 
be. He had gone to work at his figures after I had left 
him, and had found that £300 would be the outside valuo 
of the novel. I was intent upon a larger sum; and in fnri- 
ons haste — for I had but an hour at my disposal — I rushed 
to Chapman & Hall in Piccadilly, and said what I had to say 
to Mr. Edward Chapman in a quick torrent of words. 
They were the first of a great many words which have 
since been spoken by me in that back- shop. Looking 
at me as he might have done at a highway robber who 
had stopped him on Hounslow Heath, he said that he sup- 
posed he miglit as well do as I desired. I considered this 
to be a sale, and it was a sale. I remember that he held 
the poker in his hand all the time that I was with him — 
but in truth, even though he had declined to buy the 
book, there would have been no danger. 



As I journeyed across France to Marseilles, and made 
thence a terribly rough voyage to Alexandria, I wrote my 


allotted number of pages every day. On this occasiou 
more than once I left my paper on the cabin table, rush- 
ing away to be sick in the privacy of my state-room. Ifc 
was February, and tlie weather was miserable; but still I 
did my work. Labor omnia vincit iinprobus. > I do not 
say that to all men has been given physical strength suffi- 
cient for such exertion as thie, but I do* believe that real 
exertion will enable most men to work at almost any sea- 
son. I had previously to this arranged a system of task- 
work for myself, which I would strongly recommend to those 
who feel as I have felt, that labor, when not made abso- 
lutely obligatory by the circumstances of the hour, should 
Dever be allowed to become spasmodic. There was no day 
on which it was my positive duty to write for the publish- 
ers, as it was my duty to write reports for the Post office. 
I was free to be idle if I pleased. But as I had* made up 
my mind to undertake this second profession, I found it 
to be expedient to bind myself by certain self-imposed 
laws. When I have commenced a new book, I have always 
prepared a diary^ divided into weeks, and (^rried it on 
for the period which I have allowed myself for the com- 
pletion of the work. Ic this I have entered, day by day, 
the number of pages I have written, so that if at any J;ime 
I have slipped into idleness for a day or two, the record of 
that idleness has been there, staring me in the face, and 
demanding of me increased labor, so that the deficiency 
might be supplied. According to the circumstances of 
the time — whether my other business might be then heavy 
or light, or whether the book which I was writing was or 
was not wanted with speed — I have allotted myself so many 
pages a week. The average number has been about 40. 
It has heen placed as low as 20, and has risen to 112. And 
as a page is an ambiguous term, my page has been made 
to contain 250 words; and as words^ if not watched, will 
have a tendency to straggle, I have had every word counted 
AS I went. In the bargains I have made with publishers 


I have — not, of course, with their knowledge, but in my 
own mind — undertaken to supply them with so many 
words, and I have never put a book out of hand short of 
the number by a single word. I may also say that the ex- 
cess has been very small. I have prided myself on com- 
pleting my work exactly within the proposed dimensions. 
But, I have prided myself especially in completing it with- 
in the proposed time — and I have always done so. There 
has ever been tbe record before me, and a week passed 
with an insufficient number of pages has been a blister to 
my eye, and a month so disgraced would have been a sor- 
row to my heart. 

I have been told that such appliances are beneath the 
notice of a man of genius. I have never fawcied myself to 
be a man of genins, but had I been so I think I might well 
have subjected myself to these trammels. Nothing, surely, 
is so potent as a law that may not be disobeyed. It has 
the force of the water-drop that hollows the stone. A 
small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labors 
of a spasmodic Hercules. It is the tortoise which always 
catches the hare. The hare has no chance. He loses 
more time in glorifying himself for a quick spurt than 
suffices for the tortoise to make half his journey. 

I have known authors whose lives have always been 
troublesome and painful because their tasks have never 
been done in time. They have ever been as boys strug- 
gling to learn their lesson as they entered the school gates. 
Publishers have distrusted them, and they have failed 
to write their best, because they have seldom written at 
ease, I have done double their work — though burdened 
with another profession — and have done it almost without 
an effort. I have not once, through all my literary career, 
felt myself even in danger of being late AYitli my task. I 
have known no anxiety as to ** copy." The needed pages 
far ahead — very far ahead — have almost always been in the 
drawer beside me. And that little diary, with its dates 


and ruled spaces, its record that must be seen, its daily, 
"weekly demand upon my industry, has done all that for me. 

There are those who would be ashamed to subject them- 
selves to such a taskmaster, and who think tliat the man 
who works with his imagination ^should allow himself to 
Avait till^nspiration moTes him. When I have heard such 
doctrine preached, I have hardly been able tx) lepress my 
scorn. To me it Avould not be more absurd, if the shoe- 
maker were to wait for inspiration, or the tallow-chandler 
for the divine moment of melting. If thi man whose 
business it is to write has eaten too many good things, or 
lias drunk too much, or smoked too many cigars — as men 
who write sometimes will do — then his condition may be 
unfavorable for work; but so will be the condition of a 
shoemaker who has been similarly imprudent. I have 
sometimes tliought that the inspiration wanted has been 
the remedy which time will give to the evil results of such 
imprudence. Mens sana in corpore sano. The author 
wants that, as does every other workman — that and a 
habit of industry. I was once told that the surest aid to 
the writing of a book was a piece of cobbler's wax ^n my 
chair. I certainly believe in the cobbler's wax much more 
than the inspiration. 

It will be said, perhaps, that a man whose work has 
risen to no higher pitch than mine has attained has no 
right to speak of the strains and impulses to which real 
genius is exposed. I am ready to admit the great varia- 
tions in brain power whicli are exhibited by the products 
of different men, and am not disposed to rank ray own 
very high; but my own experience tells me that a man can 
always do tlie work for which liis brain is fitted if he will 
give himself the habit of regarding his work as a normal 
condition of his life. I therefore venture to advise young 
men who look forward to authorshipf as the business of 
their lives, even when they propose that that authorslup 
^all be of the highest class known, to avoid enthusiastic 


rushes with their pens, and to seat themselves at their 
desiis day by day, as though they were lawyers' clerks; 
and so let them sit until the allotted task shall be accom- 

While J was in Egypt I finished " Doctor Thome," and 
on the following day began "The Bertrams." I was 
moved now by a determination to excel, if not in quality, 
at any rate in quantity. An ignoble ambition for an au- 
thor, my readers will no doubt say. But not, I think, al- 
together ignoble, if an author can bring himself to look 
at his work as does any other workman. This had be- 
come my task, this was the furrow in which my plow was 
set, this was the thing the doing of which had fallen into 
my hands, and I was minded to work at it with a will. It 
is not on my conscience that I have ever scamped niy 
work. My novels, whether good or bad, have beqn as 
good as I could make them. Had I taken three months 
of idleness between each, they would have been no better. 
Feeling convinced of that, I finished "Doctor Thome" 
on one day, and began "The Bertrams" on the next. 

I had then been nearly two months in Egypt, and had 
at last succeeded in settling the terms of a postal treaty. 
Nearly twenty years have passed since that time, and other 
years may yet run on before these pages are printed. I 
trust I may commit no official sin by describing here .the 
nature of the difficulty which met me. I found, on my 
arrival, that I was to communicate with an officer of the 
Pasha, who was then called Nubar Bey. I presume him 
to have been the gentleman who has lately dealt with our 
government as to the Suez Canal shares, and who is now 
well known to the political world as Nubar Pasha. I 
found him a most courteous gentleman, an Armenian. I 
never went to his office, nor do I know that he had an 
office. Every other day he would come to me at my hotel, 
and bring with him servants, and pipes, and coffee. I en- 
joyed his coming greatly; but there was one point ou 


which we could not agree. As to money and other de» 
tails, it seemed as though he could hardly accede; fast 
enough to the wishes of the Postmaster-general; br^t on 
one point he was firmly opposed to me. I was desir- 
ous that the mails should be carried through Egypt 
in twenty-four hours, and he thought that forty-ieight 
hours should be allowed. I was obstinate, and he was 
obstinate; and for a long time we could come to no 
agreement. At last his Oriental tranquillity seemed to 
desert him, and he took upon himself to assure me, with 
*almost more than British energy, that, if I insisted on the 
quick transit, a terribly responsibility would rest on my 
" head. I made this mistake, he said — that I supposed that 
a rate of traveling which would be easy and secure in Eng- 
land, could be attained with safety in Egypt. "The 
Pasha, his master, would," he said, "no doubt accede to 
any terms demanded by the British Post-office, so great 
was his reverence for everything British. In that case he, 
Nubar, would at once resign his position, and retire into 
obscurity. He would be ruined; but the loss of life and 
bloodshed which would certainly follow so rash an attempt 
should not be on his head.'' I smoked my pipe, or rather 
his, and drank his coffee, with Oriental quiescence, but 
British firmness. Every now and again,-through three or 
four visits, I renewed the expression of my opinion that 
the transit could easily be made in twenty-four hours. At 
last he gave way — and astonished me by the cordiality of 
his greeting. There was no longer any question of blood- 
shed or of resignation of office, and he assured me, with 
energetic complaisance, that it should be his care to see 
that the time was punctually kept. It was punctually 
kept, and, I believe, is so still. I must confess, however, 
that my persistency was not the result of any courage 
specially personal to myself. While the matter was being 
debated, it had been whispered to me that the Peninsular 
and Oriental Steamshii) Company had conceived that 


forty-eight hours would suit the purposes of their traffic 
better than tweuty-four, and that, as they were the great 
paymasters on the railway, the minister of the Egyptian 
state, who managed the railway, might probably wish to 
accommodate them. I often wondered who originated 
that frightful picture of blood and desolation. That it 
came from an English heart and an English hand I was 
always sure. 

From Egypt I visited the Holy Land, and, on my way, 
inspected the Post-offices at Malta and Gibraltar. I could 
fill a volume with true tales of my adventures. 

The *' Tales of All Countries " have, most of them, some 
foundation in such occurrences. There is one called *' John 
Bull on the Guadalquivir," the chief incident in which oc- 
curred to me and a friend of mine, on our way up that 
riyer to Seville. We both of us handled the gold orna- 
ments of a man whom we believed to be a bull-fighter, bub 
who turned out to be a duke — and a duke, too, who could 
speak English! How gracious he was to us, and yet how 
thoroughly he covered us with ridicule! 

On my return home I received £400 from' Messrs. Chap- 
man & Hall for ** Doctor Thorne," and agreed to sell them 
^' The Bertrams " for the same sum. This latter novel was 
written under very vagrant circumstances — at Alexandria, 
Malta, Gibraltar, Glasgow, then at sea, and at last finished 
in Jamaica. Of my journey to the West Indies I will say 
a few words presently, but I may as well speak of these 
two novels here. **Ddctor Thorne'* has, I believe, been 
the most popular book that I have written — if I may take 
the sale as a proof of comparative popularity. '^ The Ber- 
trams " has had quite an oj^^posite fortune. I do not know 
that I have ever heard it well spoken of even by my friends, 
and I cannot remember that there is any character in it 
that has dwelt in the minds of novel-readers. I myself 
think that they are of about equal merit, but that neither 
of them js good. They fall away very much from ''The 


Three Clerks," both in pathos and humor. There is no 
personage in either of them comparable to ChaffanbrasR 
the lawyer. The plot of " Doctor Thorne " is good, and 
I am led therefore to suppose that a good plot — which, to 
my own feeling, is the most insignificant part of a tale — 
is that which will most raise it or most condemn it in 
the public judgment. The plots of J* Tom Jones " and 
of '* Ivanhoe " are almost perfect, and they are probably 
the most popular novels of the schools of the last and of 
this century; but to me the delicacy of Amelia, and the 
rugged strength of Burley anT3 Meg Merrilies, say more for 
the power of those great novelists than the gift of con- 
struction shown in the two works 1 have named. A nov- 
el should give a picture of common life enlivened by 
humor and sweetened by pathos. To make that picture 
worthy of attention, the canvas should be crowded with 
real portraits, not of individuals known to the world, or to 
the author, but of created personages impregnated with 
traits of character which are known. To my thinking, 
the plot is but the vehicle for all this; and when you have 
the vehicle, without the passengers, a story of mystery, in 
which the agents never spring to life, you have but a 
wooden show. There must, however, be a story. You 
must provide a vehicle of some sort. That of "The Ber- 
trams" was more than ordinarily bad; and as the book 
was relieved by no special character, it failed. Its failure 
never surprised me; but I have been surprised by the suc- 
cess of ** Doctor Thorne." 

At this time there was nothing in the success of the 
one or the failure of the other to affect me very gr6atly. 
The immediate sale, and the notices elicited from the 
critics, and the feeling which had now come to me of a 
confident standing- with the publishers, all made me know 
that I had achieved my object. If I Wrote a novel, I could 
certainly sell it. And if I could publish three in two 
years— confining myself to half the fecundity of that ter- 


rible author of whom the publisher in Paternoster Row 
had complained to me — I might add £600 a year to my 
official income. I was still living in Ireland, and could 
keep a good house over my head, insure my life, educate 
my two boys, and hunt perhaps twice a week, on £1400 
a year. If more should come, it would be well — but £1600 
a year I was prepared to reckon as success. It had been 
slow in coming, but was very pleasant when it came. 

On my return from Egypt I was sent down to Scotland 
to revise the Glasgow Post-office. I almost forget now 
what it was that I had to do there, but I know that I 
walked all over the city with the letter-carriers, going up 
to the top flats of the houses, as the men would have de- 
clared me incompetent to judge the extent of their labors 
had I not trudged every step with them. It was mid- 
summer, and wearier work I never performed. The men 
would grumble, and then I would think how it would be 
with them if they had to go home afterward and write a 
love-scene. But the love-scenes written in Glasgow, all 
belonging to ''Tiie Bertrams," are not good. 

Then, in the autumn of that year, 1858, I was asked ta 
go to the West Indies, and cleanse the Augean stables of 
our Post-office system there. Up to that time, and at 
that time, our colonial Post-offices generally were managed 
from home, and were subject to the British Postmaster- 
general. Gentlemen were sent out from England to be 
postmasters, surveyors, and what not; and as our West 
Indian islands have never been regarded as being of them- 
selves happily situated for residence, the gentlemen so sent 
were sometimes more conspicuous for want of income than 
for official zeal and ability. Hence the stables had become 
Augean. I was also instructed to carry out in some of the 
ifllando a plan for giving up this postal authority to the 
island governor, and in others to propose some such plan, 
I was then to go on to Cuba, to make a postal treaty with 
the Spanish authorities, and to Panama for the same pur- 


pose with the government of New Grenada. All this 
work I performed to my satisfaction, and I hope to that 
of my masters in St. Martin's-le-Grand. 

But the trip is at the present moment of importance to 
my subject, as having enabled me to write that which, on 
the whole, I regard as the best book that has come from 
my pen. It is short, and, I think I may venture to say, 
amusing, useful, and true. As soon as I had learned from 
the secretary at the General Post-office that this journey 
would be required, I proposed the book to Messrs. Chap- 
man & Hall, demanding £250 for a single volume. The 
contract was made without any difficulty, and when I re- 
turned home the work was complete in my desk. I began 
it on bcflard the ship in which I left Kingston, Jamaica, 
for Cuba, and from week to week I carried it on as I went. 
From Cuba I made my way to St. Thomas, and through 
the island down to Demarara, then back to St. Thomas — 
which is the starting-point for all places in that part of 
the globe — to Santa Martha, Carthagena, Aspinwall, over 
the Isthmus to Panama, up the Pacific to a little harbor 
on the coast of Costa Kica, thence across Central America, 
through Costa Rica, and down the Nicaragua River to the 
Mosquito coast, and after that home by Bermuda and 
New York. Should any one want further details of the 
voyage, are they not written in my book? The fact mem- 
orable to me now is that I never made a single note while 
writing or preparing it. Preparation, indeed, there was 
none. The descriptions and opinions came hot on to the 
--'>ner from their causes. I will not say that this is the 
^st way of writing a book intended to give accurate in- 
formation. But it is the best way of producing, to the 
€ye of the reader, and to his ear, that which the eye of the 
writer has seen and his ear heard. There are two kinds 
of confidence which a reader may have in his author— 
which two kinds the reader who wishes to use his reading 
well should carefully discriminate. There is a confidence 


in facts and a confidence in vision. The one man tells 
you accurately what has been. The other suggests to yoa 
what may, or perliaps what must have been, or what ought 
to have been. The former requires simple faith. The 
latter calls upon you to judge for yourself, and form your 
own conclusions. The former does not intend to be pre- 
scient, nor the latter accurate. Research is the weapon 
used by the former; observation by the latter. Either 
may be false — willfully false; as also may either be stead- 
fastly true. As to that, the reader mu?t judge for him- 
self. But the man who writes ciirrente calamo, who works 
with a rapidity which will not admit of accuracy, may be- 
as true, and in one sense as trustworthy, as he who bases 
every word upon a roclf of facts. I have written very 
much as I have traveled about; and though I have been, 
very inaccurate, I have always written the exact truth as I 
saw it; and I have, I think, drawn my pictures correctly. 

The view I took of the relative position in the West 
Indies of black men and white men was the view of the 
Tiines newspaper at that period; and there appeared three 
articles in that journal, one closely after another, which 
made the fortune of the book. Had it been very bad, I 
suppose its fortune could not have been made for it even 
by the Times newspaper. I afterward became acquainted 
with the writer cf those articles, the contributor himself 
informing me that he had written them. I told him that 
he had done me a greater service than can often be done 
by one man to another, but that I was under no obligatioa 
to him. I do not think that he saw the matter quite itt 
the same light.^ 

I am aware that by that criticism I was much raised in 
my position as an author. Whether such lifting up by 
such means is good or bad for literature is a question which 
I hope to discuss in a future chapter. But the result was 
immediate to me, for I at once went to Chapman & Hall 
and successfully demanded £600 for my next novel. 




SOOK after ray return from the West Indies I was en- 
abled to change my district in Ireland for one in England. 
For some time past my official work had been of a 
special nature, taking me out of my own district; but 
through all that, Dublin had been my home, and there my 
wife and children had lived. I had often sighed to return 
to England, with a silly longing. My life in England for 
twenty-six years, from the time of my birth to the day on 
-which I left it, had been wretched. I had been poor, 
friendless, and joyless. In Ireland it had constantly been 
happy. I had achieved the respect of all with whom I was 
concerned, I had made for myself a comfortable home, 
and I had enjoyed many pleasures. Hunting, itself, was 
a great delight to me; and now, as I contemplated a move 
to England, and a house in the neighborhood of London, 
I felt that hunting must be abandoned.* Nevertheless I 
thought that a man who could write books ought not to 
live in Ireland — ought to live within the reach of the pub- 
lishers, the clubs, and the dinner-parties of the metropolis. 
So I made my request at headquarters, and with some little 
difficulty got myself appointed to the Eastern District of 
England— which comprised Essex, Suffolk, Xorfolk, 
Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, and tl^e greater part of 


At this time I did not stand very well with the dom- 
inant interest at the General Post-office. My old friend 
Colonel Maberly bad been some time since squeezed into, 

* It was not abandoned till sixteen more years had passed away. 


and his place was filled by Mr. Rowland Hill, the originator 
of the penny post. With him I never had any sympathy^ 
nor he with me. In figures and facts he was most ac- 
curate, but I never came across any one who so little 
understood tlie ways of men — unless it was his brother 
Frederic. To the two brothers the servants of the Post- 
oflSce — men numerous enough to have formed a large army 
in old days — were so many machines who could be counted 
on for their exact work without deviation, as wheels may 
be counted on which are kept going always at the same 
pace and always by the same power. Rowland Hill was an 
industrious public servant, anxious for the good of his 
country; but he was a hard taskmaster, and one who would, 
I think, have put the great department with which he was 
concerned altogether out of gear by his hardness, had he 
not been at last controlled. He was the chief secretary; 
my brother-in-law — who afterward succeeded him — came- 
next to him, and Mr. HilFs brother was the junior sec- 
retary. In the natural course of things I had not, from 
my position, anything to do with the management of 
affairs; but from time to time I found myself more oi;less 
mixed up in it. I was known to be a thoroughly eflBcient 
public servant — I am sure I may say so much of myself 
without fear of con trad ictit)n from any one who has known 
the Post-o^ce— I was very fond of the department, and, 
when matters came to be considered, I generally had an 
opinion of my own. I have no doubt that I often made 
myself very disagreeable. I know that I sometimes tried 
to do so. But I could hold my own, because I knew my 
business and was useful. I had given ofiicial offense by 
the publication of " The Three Clerks." I afterward gave 
greater offense by a lecture on the civil service, which I 
delivered in one of the large rooms at the General Post* 
office, to the clerks there. On this occasion the Post- 
master-general, with whom personally I enjoyed friendly 
terms, sent for me and told mo that Mr. Hill had told 


him that I ought to be dismissed. When I asked his lord- 
ship whether he was prepared to dismiss me he only 
laughed. The tlireat was no threat to me, as I knew my- 
self to be too good to be treated in that fashion. The 
lecture had been permitted, and I had disobeyed no order. 
In the lecture which I delivered there was nothing to 
bring me to shame; but it advocated the doctrine that a 
civil servant is only a servant as far as his contract goes, 
and that he is, beyond that, entitled to be as free a man in 
politics, as free in his general pursuits, and as free in 
opinion, as those who are in open professions and open 
trades. All tliis is very nearly admitted now, but it 
certainly was not admitted then. At that time no one in 
the Post-office could even vote for a Member of Parlia- 

Through my whole official life I did my best to improve 
the style of official writing. I have written, I should 
think, some thousands of reports, many of them necessa- 
rily very long; some of them dealing with subjects so ab- 
surd as to allow a touch of burlesque; some few in which 
a spark of indignation or a slight glow of pathos might 
find *an entrance. I have taken infinite pains with these 
reports, habituating myself always to write them in the 
form in which they should be ^nt— without a copy. lb 
is by writing thus that a man can throw on to his paper the 
exact feeling with which his mind is impressed at the mo- 
ment. A rough copy, or that which is called a draft, is 
written in order that it may be touched and altered and 
put upon stilts. The waste of time, moreover, in such an 
operation is terrible. If a man knows his craft with his 
pen, he will have learned to write without the necessity of 
changing his words or the form of his sentences. I had 
learned so to write my reports that they who read them 
should know what it was that I meant them to understand. 
But I do not think that they were regarded with favor. I 
have heard horror expressed because the old forma were 


disregarded and language used which had no savor of red 
tape. During the whole of this work in the Post-office it 
was my principle always to obey authority in everything^ 
instantly, but never to allow my mouth to be closed as to 
the expression of my opinion. They who had the ordering 
of me very often did not know the work as I knew it — 
could not tell, as I could, what would be the effect of this 
or that change. When carrying out instructions which I 
knew should not have been given, I never scrupled to point 
out the fatuity of the improper order in the strongest lan- 
guage that I could decently eiftploy. I have reveled in 
these official correspondences, and» look back to some of 
them as the greatest delights of my life. But I am not 
sure that they were so delightful to others. 

I succeeded, however, in getting the English district — 
which could hardly have been refused to me — and pre- 
pared to change our residence toward the end of 1859. 
At the time I was writing " Castle Richmond," the novel 
which I had sold to Messrs, Chapman & Hall for £600. 
But there arose at this time a certain literary project 
which probably had a great effect upon my career. While 
traveling on postal service abroad, or riding over the 
rural districts in England, or arranging the mails in Ire- 
land — and such for the last eighteen years had now been 
my life — I had no opportunity of becoming acquainted 
with literary Jife in London. It was probably some feel- 
ing of this which had made me anxious to move my pe- 
nates back to England. But even in Ireland, where I was 
still living in October, 1859, I had heard of the Cornhill 
Magazine, which was to come out on the 1st of January, 
1880, under the editorship of Thackeray. 

I had at this time written from time to time certain 
E.iort stories, which had been pu'blished in certain period- 
icals, and which in due time were republished under the 
name of '* Tales of All Countries." On the 23d of 
October, 1859, I wrote to Thackeray, whom I had, I 


think, never then seen, offering to send him for th© maga- 
zine certain of these stories. In reply to this I receiyed 
two letters — one from Messrs. Smith & Elder, the pro- 
prietors of the Cornhill, dated 26th of October, and the 
other from the editor, written two days later. That from 
Mr. Thackeray was as follows : 

" 36 Onslow Squake, S. W.. Octoh&r 28. 
" My Dear Mr. Trollope,— Smith & Elder have sent 
you their proposals; and the business part done, let me 
come to the pleasure, and say how very glad indeed I shall 
be to have you as a c^operator in our new magazine. 
And, looking over the annexed programme, you will see 
whether you can't help us in many other ways besides tale- 
telling. Whatever a man knows about life and its doings 
that let us hear about. You must have tossed a good deal 
about the world, and have countless sketches in your 
memory and your portfolio. Please to think if you can 
iurbish up any of these besides a novel. When events 
occur, and you have a good, lively tale, bear us in mind. 
One of our chief objects in this magazine is the getting 
■out of novel spinning, and back into the world. Don't 
understand me to disparage our craft, especially your 
wares. I often say I am like the pastry cook, and don't 
care for tarts, but prefer bread-and-cheese; but the public 
love the tarts (luckily for us), and we must bake and sell 
them. There was quite an excitement in my family one 
evening when Paterfamilias (who goes to sleep on a novel 
almost always, when he tries it after dinner) came up-stairs 
into the drawing-room wide awake, and calling for the 
second volume of 'The Three Clerks.' I hope the 
Coriihill Magazine will have as pleasant a story. And 
the Chapmans, if ihey are the honest men I take them to 
be, I've no doubt have told you with what sincere liking 
jour works have been read by 

*' Yours very faithfully, 

''W. M. Thackeray." 

This was very pleasant, and so was the letter from Smith 
A Elder offering me £1000 for the copyright of a three- 
volume novel, to come out in the new magazine— on con- 
dition that the first portion of it should be in their hands 


"by December 12. There was much in all this that aston- 
ished me— ill the first place;> the priQp, which was more 
than double what I had yet received, and nearly double 
that which I was abont to receive from Messrs. Chapman 
& Hall. Then there was the suddenness of the call. It 
was already the end of October, and a portion of the work 
was required to be in the printer's hands within six weeks. 
*' Castle Bichmond " was, indeed, half written, but that 
was sold to Chapman. And it had always been a principle 
with me in my ai*t that no part of a novel should be pub- 
lished till the entire story was completed. I knew, from 
what I read from month to month, that this hurried 
publication of incompleted work was frequently, I might 
perhaps say always, adopted by the leading novelists of 
the day. That such has been the case is proved by the 
fact that Dickens, Thackeray, and Mrs. Gaskell died with 
unfinished novels, of which portions had been already 
published. I had not yet entered upon the system of pub- 
lishing novels in parts, and therefore had never been 
tempted. But I was aware that an artist should keep in 
his hand the power of fitting the beginning of his work to 
the end. No doubt it is his first duty to fit the end to 
the beginning, and he will endeavor to do so. But he 
flhould still keep in his hands the power of remedying any 
■defect in this respect. 

" Servetur ad imum 
Qualis ab incepto processerit," 

should be kept in view as to every character and every 
string of action. Your Achilles should, all through, from 
beginning to end, be "impatient, fiery, ruthless, keen." 
Your Achilles, such as he is, will probably keep up his 
character. But your Davus also should be always Davus, and 
that is more difficult. The rustic, driving his pigs' to 
market, cannot always make them travel by the exact path 
which he has intended for them. When some young lady 
«t the end of a story cannot be made quite perfect in her 


conduct, that vivid description of angelic purity with 
which you laid tTie first lines of her portrait should be 
slightly toned down. I had felt that the rushing mode of 
publication to which the system of serial stories had given 
rise, and by which small parts, as they were written, were 
sent hot to the press, was injurious to the work done. If 
I now complied with the proposition made to me, I must 
act against my own principle. But such a principle be- 
comes a tryant if it cannot be superseded on a just occa- 
sion. If the reason be *' tanti," the principle should for 
the occasion be put in abeyance. I sat as a judge, and 
decreed that the present reason was "tanti." On this, 
my first attempt at a serial story, I thought it fit to break 
my own rule. I can say, however, that I have never broken 
it since. 

But what astonished me most was the fact that at so 
late a day this new Cornhill Magazine should be in want 
of a novel! Perhaps some of my future readers will be 
able to remember the great expectations which were raised 
as to this periodical. Thackeray's was a good name with 
which to conjure. The proprietors, Messrs. Smith & 
Elder, were most liberal in their manner of initiating the 
work, and were able to make an expectant world of readers 
believe that something was to be given them for a shilling 
very much in excess of anything they had ever received 
for that or double the money. Whether these hopes were 
or were not fulfilled it is not for me to say, as, for the first 
few years of the magazine's existence, I wrote for it more 
than any other one person. But such was certainly the 
prospect; and how had it come to pass that, with such 
promises made, the editor and the proprietors were, at the 
end of October, without anything fixed as to what must be 
regarded as the chief dish in the banquet tp be provided? 

I fear that the answer to this question must be found in 
the habits of procrastination which had at that time grown 
upon the editor. He had, I imagine, undertaken the work 


himself, and had postponed its commencement till there 
was left to him no time for commencing. There was still, 
it may be said, as much time for liim as for me. I think 
there was — for though he Jiad his magazine to look after, 
I had the Post-oflBce. But he thought, when unable to 
trust his own energy, that he might rely upon that of a 
new recruit. He was but four years my senior in life, but 
he was at the top of th§ tree, while I was still at the 

Having made up my mind to break my principle, I 
started at once from Dublin to London. I arrived there 
on the morning of Thursday, November 3, and left it on 
the evening of Friday. In the meantime I had my agree- 
ment with Messrs. Smith & Elder, and had arranged my 
plot. But, when in London, I first went to Edward 
Chapman, at 193 Piccadilly. If the novel 1 was then 
writing for him would suit the Cornhill, might I consider 
my arrangement withjiim to be at an end? Yes; I might. 
But if that story would not suit the Cornhill, was I to 
consider my arrangement with him as still standing — that 
agreement; requiring that my manuscript should be in his 
hands in the following March? As to that, i might do as 
I pleased. In our dealings together, Mr. Edward Chap- 
man always acceded to every suggestion made to him. He 
never refused a book, and never haggled at a price. Then 
I hurried into the City, and had my first interview with 
Mr. George Smith. When he heard that '' Castle Rich- 
mond " was an Irish story, he begged that I would en- 
deavor to frame some other for his magazine. He was 
sure that an Irish story would not do for a commence- 
ment; and he suggested the Church, as though it were 
my peculiar subject. I told him that *' Castle Rich- 
mond" would have to '^ come out" while any other novel 
that I might write for him would be running through the 
magazine; but to that he expressed himself altogether 
indifferent. He wanted an English tale, on English life^ 


with a clerical flavor. On these orders I went to work, 
and framed what I suppose I must call the plot of '' Frani* 
ley Parsonage." 

On my journey hack to Ireland, in the railway carriage, 
I wrote the first few pages of that story. I had got into 
my head an idea of what I meant to write — a morsel of 
the biography of an English clergyman who should not 
be a bad man, but one led in\o. temptation by his own 
youth and by the unclerical accidents of the life of those 
around him. The love of his sister for the young lord 
was an adjunct necessary, because there must be love in a 
novel. And then, by placing Framley Parsonage near 
Barchester, I was able to fall back upon my old friends- 
Mrs. Proudie and the archdeacon. Out of these slight 
elements I fabricated a hodge-podge in which the real plot 
consisted at last simply of a girl refusing to marry the man 
she loved till the man's friends agreed to accept her loving- 
ly. Nothing could be less efficient or artistic. But the 
characters were so well handled that the work, from the 
first to the last, was popular, and was received as it went 
on with still increasing favor by both editor and proprietor 
of the magazine. The- story was thoroughly English* 
There was a little fox-hunting and a little tuft-hunting; 
some Christian virtue and some Christian cant. ^There 
was no heroism and no villainy. There was much Church, 
but nwre love-making. And it was downright, honest 
love, in which there was no pretense on the part of the 
lady that she was too ethereal to be fond of a man, no 
half-and-half inclination on the part of the man a 
certain price and no more for a pretty toy. Each of them 
longed for the other, and they were not ashamed to say so. 
Consequently, they in England who were living, or had 
lived, the same sort of life, liked ^'Framley Parsonage.'^ 
I think myself that Lucy Robarts is, perhaps, the most 
natural English girl that I ever drew— the most natural^ 
at any rate, of those who hnve been ^ood girls. She was 


not as dear to me as Kate Woodward in *'Tlie Three 
Clerks/' but I think &he is more like real human life. 
Indeed, I doubt whether such a character could be made 
more lifelike than Lucy Eobarts. 

And I will say also that in this novel there is no very weak 
part, no long succession of dull pages. The production 
of novels in serial form forces upon the author the convic- 
tion that he should not allow himself to be tedious in any 
single part. I hope no reader will misunderstand me. In 
spite of that conviction, the writer of stories in parts will 
often be tedious. That I have been so myself is a fault 
that will often lie heavy on my tombstone. But the writer, 
when he embarks in such a business, should feel that he 
cannot afEord to have many pages skipped out of the few 
•which are to meet the reader's eye at the same time. Who- 
can imagine the first half of the first volume of '* Wav- 
erley " coming out in shilling numbers? I had realized 
this when I was writing **Framley Parsonage;" and, 
working on the conviction which had thus come home to 
me, I fell into no bathos of dullness. 

I subsequently came across a piece of criticism which 
was written on me as a novelist by a brother novelist very 
much greater than myself/and whose brilliantintellect and 
warm imagination led him to a kind of work the very oppo- 
site of mine. This was Natlianiel Hawthorne, the Amer- 
ican, whom I did not then know, but whose works I knew. 
Though it praises myself highly, I will insert it here, be- 
cause it certainly is true in its nature: " It is odd enough," 
be says, '' that my own individual taste is for 'quite another 
class of works than those which I myself am able to write. 
If I were to meet with such books as mine, by another 
writer, I don't believe I *ould be able to get through 
them. Have you ever read the novels of Anthony Trol- 
lope? They precisely suit my taste— solid and substantiaU 
writteM on the strength of beef and through the inspira- 
tion of ale, and just as real as if some giant had hewn a 


great lump out of the earth and put it uuder a glass case, 
with all its inhabitants goi*ng about their daily business, 
and not suspecting that they were being made a show of. 
And these books are just as English as a beefsteak. Have 
they ever been tried in America? It needs an English 
residence to make them thoroughly comprehensible, but 
still I should think that human nature would give them 
fiuccess anywhere." 

This was dated early in 18G0, and could have had no 
reference to *'Framley Parsonage;" but it was as true of 
that work as of any that I have written. And the criti- 
-cism, whether just or unjust, describes with wonderful 
accuracy the purport that I have ever had in view in my 
writing. I have always desired to '^ hew out some lump 
of the earth," and to make men and women walk upon it 
just as they do walk here among us — with not more of ex- 
cellence, nor with exaggerated baseness — so that my 
readers might recognize human beings like to themselves, 
and not feel themselves to be carried away among gods or 
demons. If I could do this, then I thought I might suc- 
ceed in impregnating the mind of the novel-reader with a 
feeling that honesty is the best policy; that truth prevails 
while falsehood fails; that a girl will be loved as she is 
pure and sweet and unselfish; that a man will be honored 
as he is true and honest and brave of lieart; that things 
meanly done are ugly and odious, and things nobly done 
beautiful and gracious. I do not say that lessons such as 
these may not be more grandly taught by higher flights 
than mine. Such lessons come to us from our greatest 
poets. But there are so many who will read novels and 
understand them, who either do not read the works of our 
great poets, or, reading them, miss the lesson 1 And even 
in prose fiction the character whom the fervid imagination 
of the writer has lifted somewhat into the clouds will 
hardly give so plain an example to the hasty, normal 
reader as the humbler personage whom that reader un- 


consciously feels to resemble himself or liei*self. I do 
think that a girl would more probably dress her own mind 
after Lucy Robarts than after Flora Macdonald. 

There are many who would laugh at the idea of a novel- 
ist teaching either virtue or nobility — those, for instance, 
who regard the reading of novels as a sin, and those also 
who think it to be simply an idle pastime. They look, 
upon the tellers of stories as among the tribe of those who 
pander to the wicked pleasures of ;v wicked world. I have 
regarded My art from so different a point of view that I 
have ever thought of myself as a preacher of sermons, and 
my pulpit as one which I could make both salutary and 
agreeable to my audience. I do believe that no girl ha^ 
risen from the reading of my pages less modest than she 
was before, and that some may have learned from them, 
that modesty is a charm wel] worth preserving. I think 
that no youth has been taught that in falseness and flash- 
ness is to be found the road to manliness; but some may 
perhaps have learned from me that it is to be found in 
truth and a high but gentle spirit. Such are the lessons 
I have striven to teach; and I have thought it might best 
be done by representing to my readers characters liko 
themselves, or to which they might liken themselves. 

'Tramley Parsonage" — or, rather, my connection with 
the Cornhill — was the means of introducing me very ' 
quickly to that literary world from which I had hitherto 
been severed by the fact of my residence in Ireland. In 
December, 1859, while I was still very hard at work on 
my novel, I came over to take charge of the Eastern Dis- 
trict, and settled myself at a residence about twelve miles 
from London, in Hertfordshire, but on the border? both 
of Essex and Middlesex, which was somewhat too grandly 
called Waltham House. This I took on lease, and subse- 
quently bought, after I had spent about £1000 on im- 
provements. From hence I was able to make myself 
irequent both in Cornhill and Piccadilly, and to live^ 


when the opportunity came, among men of my own pur- 

It was in January, 1860, that Mr. George Smith to 

whose enterprise we owe not only the Cornhill Magazine 
but the Pall Mall Gazette — gave a sumptuous dinner to 
his contributors. It was a memorable banquet in many 
ways, but chiefly so to me because on that occasion I first 
met many men who afterward became my most intimate 
associates. It can rarely happen that one such occasion 
can be the first starting-point of so many friendships. It 
was at that table, and on that day, that I first saw Thack- 
eray, Charles Taylor (Sir) — than whom in later life I have 
loved nf> man better — Robert Bell, G. H. Lewes, and John 
flverett Millais. With all these men I afterward lived 
on affectionate terms; but I will here speak specially of 
the last, because from that time he was joined with me in 
^o much of the work that I did. 

Mr. Millais was engaged to illustrate " Framley Parson- 
age," but this was not the first work he did for the maga- 
zine. In the second number there is a picture of his, 
accompanying Monckton Milnes's " Unspoken Dialogue,'* 
The first drawing he did for "Framley Parsonage '* did 
not appear till after the dinner of which I have spoken, 
and I do not think that I knew at the time that he was 
engaged on my novel. When I did know it, it made me 
proud. He afterward illustrated ^'Orley Farm," "The 
♦Small House at Allington," ** EachelRay," and " Phineas 
Finn." Altogether he drew from my tales eighty-seven 
drawings, and I do not think that more conscientious work 
was ever done by man. Writers of novels know well — and 
so ought readers of novels to have learned — that there are 
two modes of illustrating, either of which may be adopted 
equally by a bad and by a good artist. To which class 
Mr. Millais belongs I need not say; but, as a good artist, 
It was open to him simply to make a pretty picture, or to 
study the work of the author from whose writing he was 


bound to take his subject. I have too often found that 
the former alternative has been thought to be the better, 
as it certainly is the easier method. An artist will fre- 
quently dislike to subordinate liis ideas to those of an 
author, and will sometimes be too idle to find out what 
those ideas are. But this artist was neither proud nor 
idle. In every figure that he drew it was his object to 
promote the views of the writer whose work he had under- 
taken to illustrate, and he never spared himself any pains 
in studying that work, so as to enable him to do so. I have 
carried on some of tliose characters from book to book, 
and have had my own early ideas impressed indelibly on 
my memory by the excellence of his delineations. Those 
illustrations were commenced fifteen years ago, and from 
that time up to this day my affection for the man of whom 
I am speaking has increased. To see him has always been 
a pleasure. His voice has been a sweet sound in my ears. 
Behind his back I have never heard him praised without 
joining the eulogist; I have never a word spoken against 
him without opposing the censurer. These words, should 
he ever see them, will come to him from the grave, and 
will tell him of my regard — as one living man never tells 

Sir Charles Taylor, who carried me home in his brougham 
that evening, and thus commenced an intimacy which has 
since been very close, was born to wealth, and was there- 
fore not compelled by the necessities of a profession to 
enter the lists as an author. But he lived much with 
those who did so, and could have done it himself had want 
or ambition stirred him. He was our king at the Garrick 
Club, to which, however, I did not yet belong. He gave 
the best dinners of my time, and was — happily I may say 
is * — the best giver of dinners. A man rough of tongue, 
brusque in his manners, odious to those who dislike him, 

''^Alas! witliia a year of the writing of this he went from us. 


Bomewhat inclined to tyranny, be is the prince of friends, 
honest as the sun, and as open-handed as charity itself. 

Eobert Bell has now been dead nearly ten years. As I 
look back over the interval and remember how intimate 
we were, it seems odd to me that we should have known 
each other for no more than six years. He was a man who 
had lived by his pen from his very youth; and was so far 
successful tbat I do not think that want ever came near him. 
But he never made that mark which his industry and tal- 
ents would have seemed to insure. He was a man well 
known to literary men, but not known to readers. As a 
journalist he was useful and conscientious, but his plays 
and novels never made themselves popular. He wrote a 
life of Canning, and he brought out an annotated edition 
of the British poets; but he achieved no gi-eat success. I 
have known no man better read in English literature. 
Hence his conversation had a peculiar charm, but he was 
not equally happy with his pen. He will long be remem- 
bered at the Literary Fund Committees, of which he was 
a stanch and most trusted supporter. I think it was he 
who first introduced me* to that board. It has often been 
said that literary men are peculiarly apt to think^bat they 
are slighted and unappreciated. Robert Bell certainly 
never achieved the position in literature which he once 
aspired to fill, and which he^was justified in thinking tliat 
he could earn for himself. I have frequently discussed 
these subjects with him, but I never heard from his mouth 
a word of complaint as to his own literary fate. He liked 
to hear the chimes go at midnight, and he loved to have 
ginger hot in his mouth. On such occasions no sound 
ever came out of a man's lips sweeter than his wit and 
gentle revelry. 

George Lewes — with his wife, whom all the world knows 
as George Eliot— has also been and still is-ono of my dearest 
friends. He is, I think, the acutest critic I know— and 
the severest. His seventy, however, is a fault. His in- 


tention to be honest, even when honesty may give pain, 
has caused him to give pain when honesty has not required 
it. He is essentially a doubter, and has encouraged him- 
self to doubt till the faculty of trusting has almost left him. 
I am net speaking of the personal trust which one man feels 
in another, but of that confidence in literary excellence 
which is, I think, necessary for the full enjoyment of lit- 
-erature. In one modern writer he did believe thoroughly. 
Nothing can be more charming than the unstinted admira- 
tion which he has accorded to everything that comes from 
the pen of the wonderful woman to whom his lot has been 
tinited. To her name I shall recur again when speaking 
of the novelists of the present day. 

Of " Billy Russell," as we always used to call him, I may 
say that I never knew but one man equal to him in the 
quickness and continuance of witty speech. That one man 
was Charles Lever— also an Irishman— whom I had known 
frotn an earlier date, and also with close intimacy. Of the 
two, f think that'Lever was perhaps the more astounding 
producer of good things. His manner was, perhaps, a 
little the happier, and his turns more sharp and unex- 
pected. But ''Billy" also was marvelous. Whether 
abroad, as special correspondent, or at home, amid the 
flurry of his newspaper work, he was a charming compan- 
ion; his ready wit always gave him the last word. 

Of Thackeray I will speak again when I record his 

There were many others whom I met for the first time 
at George Smith's table. Albert Smith, for the first, and, 
indeed, for the last time, as he died soon afte^-; Higgins, 
whom all the world knew as Jacob Omnium, a man I 
greatly regarded; Dallas, who for a time was literary critic 
to the 7\meSf and who certainly in that capacity did better 
work than has appeared since in the same department; 
George Augustus Sala, who, had he given himself fair 
play, would have risen to higher eminence than that of 


being the best writer in his day of sensational leading^ 
articles; and Fitz-Janies Stephen, a man of very different 
caliber, who has not yet culminated, but who, no doubt, 
will culminate among our judges. There -were many 
others; but I cannot now recall their various names as 
identified with those banquets. 

Of *' Framley Parsonage " I need only further say, tliat 
as I wrote it I became more closely than ever acquainted 
with the new shire which I had added to the English 
counties. I had it all in my mind — its roads and rail- 
roads, its towns and parishes, its members of Parliament, 
and the different hunts which rode over it. I knew all 
the great lords and their castles, the squires and their 
parks, the rectors and their churches. This was t^ie fourth 
novel of which I had placed the scene in Barsetshire, and 
as I wrote it I made a map of the dear county. Through- 
out these stories there has been no name given to a ficti- 
tious site which does not represent to me a spot of which 
I know all the accessories, as though I had lived and 
wandered there. 



When I had half finished ''Framley Parsonage" I 
went back to my other story, "Castle Richmond," which 
I was writing for Messrs. Chapman & Hall, and completed 
that. I think that this was the only occasion on which I 
have had two different novels in my mind at the same 
time. This, however, did not create either difficulty or 
confusion. Many of us live in different circles; and when 
we go from our friends in the town to our friends in the 
country, we do not usually fail to remember -tiie little de- 
tails of the one life or the other. The parson at Rusticum, 


with his wife and his wife's mother, and all his belongings; 
and our old friend, the squire, with his family history; and 
Farmer Mudge, who has been cross with us, because we 
rode so unnecessarily over his barley; and that rascally 
poacher, once a gamekeeper, who now traps all the foxes; 
and pretty Mary Cann, whose marriage with the wheel- 
wright we did something to expedite — though we are alive 
to them all, do not drive out of our brain the club gossip, 
or the memories of last season's dinners, or any incident of 
our London intimacies. In our lives we are always weaving 
novels, and we manage to keep the different tales distinct. 
A man does, in truth, remember that which it interests 
him to remember; and when we hear that memory has 
gone as age has come on, we should understand that the 
capacity for interest in the matter concerned has perished. 
A man will be generally very old and feeble before he 
forgets how much money he has in the funds. There is a 
good deal to be learned by any one who wishes to write a 
novel well; but when the art has been acquired, I do not 
see why two or three should not be well written at the 
same time. I have never found myself thinking much 
about the work that I had to do till I was doing it. I 
have, indeed, for many years almost abandoned the effort 
to think, trusting myself, with the narrowest thread of a 
plot, to work the matter out when the pen is in my hand. 
But my mind is coi^stantly employing itself on the work I 
have done. Had I left either '* Framley Parsonage" or 
'* Castle Richmond " half finished fifteen years ago, I think 
I could complete the tales now with very little trouble. I 
have not looked at '' Castle Richmond" since it was pub- 
lished; and poor as the work is, I remember all the inci- 

** Castle Richmolid " certainly was not a success, though 
the plot is a fairly good plot, and is much more of a plot than 
I have generally been able to find. The scene is laid in Ire- 
land during the famine; and I am well aware now that 


English readers no longer like Irish stories. I cannot- 
understand why it should be so, as the Irish character is 
peculiarly well fitted for romance. But Irish subjects 
generally have become distasteful. This novel, however, 
is of itself a weak production. The characters do not 
excite sympathy. The heroine has two lovers, one of whom 
is a scamp and the other a prig. As regards the scamp, 
the girl's mother is her own rival. Rivalry of the same 
nature has been admirably depicted by Thackeray in his 
*' Esmond;" but there the mother's love seems to be justi- 
fied by the girl's indifference. In *' Castle Richmond " the 
mother strives to rob her daughter of the man's love. 
The girl herself has no character; and the mother, who is 
strong enough, is almost revolting. The dialogue is often 
lively, and some of the incidents are well told; but the 
story, as a whole, was a failure. I cannot remember, 
however, that it was roughly handled by the critics when 
it came out; and I much doubt whether anything so hard 
was said of it then as that which I have said here. 

I was now settled at Waltham Cross, in a house in which 
I could entertain a few friends modestly, where we grew 
our cabbages and strawberries, made our own butter, and 
killed our own pigs. I occupied it for twelve years, and 
tKey were years to me of great prosperity. In 1861 I be- 
came a member of the Garrick Club, with which institu- 
tion I have since been much identified. I had belonged 
to it about two years, when, on Thackeray's death, I was 
invited to fill his place on the committee, and I have been 
one of that august body ever since. Having up to that 
time lived very little among men, having known hitherto 
nothing of clubs, having even as a boy been banished from 
social gatherings, I enjoyed infinitely at first the gayetyof 
the Garrick. It was a festival to me to dine there— which 
I did, indeed, but seldom; and a great delight to play a 
rubber in the little room up-stairs of an afternoon. I am 
speaking now of the old club in King Street. This play- 


iug of whist before dinner has since become a habit with 
me, so that unless there be something else special to do — 
unless there be hunting, or I am wanted to ride in the 
park by the young tyrant of my household — it is *^ my 
custom always in the afternoon." I have sometimes felt 
sore with myself for this persistency, feeling that I was 
making myself a slave to an amusement which has not, 
after all, very much to recommend it. I have often thought 
that I would break myself away from it, and '* swear off," 
as Kip Van Winkle says. But my swearing off has been, 
like <^Jiat of Rip Van Winkle. And now, as I think of it 
coolly, I do not know but that I have been right to cling 
to it. As a man grows old he wants amusement, more 
even than when he is young; and then it becomes so diffi- 
cult to find amusement. Reading should, no doubt, be 
the delight of men's leisure hours. Had I to choose be- 
tween books and cards, I should no doubt take the books. 
But I find that I can seldom read with pleasure for above 
an hour and a half at a time, or more than three hours a 
day. As I write this I am aware that hunting must soon 
be abandoned. After sixty it is given to but few men to 
ride straight across country, and I cannot bring myself to 
adopt any other mode of riding. I think that without 
cards I should now be much at a loss. When I began to 
play at the Garrick, I did so simply because I liked the 
society o^ the men who played. 

I think that I became popular among those with whom 
I associated. I have long been aware of a certain weak- 
ness in my own character, which I may call a craving for 
love. I have ever had a wish to be liked by those around 
me, a wish that during the first half of my life was never 
gratified. In my school- days no small part of my misery 
came firom the envy with which I regarded the popularity 
of popular boys. They seemed to me to live in a social 
paradise, while the desolation of my pandemonium was 
complete. And afterward, when I was in London as ayouug 


man, I had but few friends. Among the clerks in the 
Post-office I held mj own fairly for the first two or three 
years; but even then I regarded myself as something of a 
pariah. My Irish life had been much better. I had my 
wife and children, and had been sustained by a feeling of 
general respect. But even in Ireland I had, in truth, 
lived but little in society. Our means had been suflScient 
for our wants, but insufficient for entertaining others. It 
was not till we had settled ourselves at Waltham that I 
really began to live much with others. The GrarrickClub 
was the first assemblage of men' at which I felt myself ta 
be popular. 

I soon became a member of other clubs. There was the- 
Arts Club in Hanover Square, of which I saw the opening, 
but from which, after three or four years, I withdrew my 
name, having found that during these three or four years 
I had not once entered the building. Then I was one of 
the originators of the Civil Service Club — not from judg- 
ment, but instigated to do so by others. That also I left 
for the same reason. In 1864 I received the honor of be- 
ing elected by the committee at the Athenaeum. For this 
I was indebted to the kindness of Lord Stanhope; and I 
never was more surprised than when I was informed of the 
fact. About the same time I became a member of the 
Cosmopolitan, a little club that meets twice a week in 
Charles Street, Berkeley Square, and supplies to all its 
members, and its members' friends, tea and brandy-and- 
water without charge! The gatherings there I used to 
think very delightful. One met Jacob Omnium, Monckton 
Milnes, Tom Hughes, William Stirling, Henry Reeve, 
Arthur Eussell, Tom Taylor, and suchlike; and generally 
a strong political element, thoroughly well mixed, gave a 
certain spirit to the place. Lord Ripon, Lord Stanley, 
William Forster, Lord Enfield, Lord Kimberley, George 
Bentinck, Vernon Harcourt, Bromley Davenport, Knatch- 
bull Huguessen, with many others, used to whisper the 


secrets of Parliaipent with free tongues. Afterward I 
became a member of the Turf, which I found to be 
serviceable — or the reverse — only for the playing of whist 
at high points. 

In August, 1861, 1 wrote another novel for the Comhill 
Magazine. It was a short story, about one volume in 
length, and was called " The Struggles of Brown, Jones, 
and Kobinson." In this I attempted a style for which I 
certainly was not qualified, and to which I never again had 
recourse. It was meant to be funny, was full of slang, 
and was intended as a satire on the ways of trade. Still I 
think that there is some good fun in it, but I have heard 
no one else express such an opinion. I do not know that 
I ever heard any opinion expressed on it, except by the- 
publisher, who kindly remarked that he did not think it 
was equal to my usual work. Though he had purchased 
the copyright, he did republish the story in book form till 
1870, and then it passed into the world of letters sub 
silentio. I do not know that it was ever criticised or ever 
read. I received £600 for it. From that time to this I 
have been paid at about that rate for my work — £600 for 
the quantity contained in an ordinary novel volume, or 
£3000 for a long tale published in twen y parts, which is 
equal in length to five such volumes. I have occasionally, 
I think, r^eived something more than this, never, 
I think, less for any tale, except when I have published 
my work anonymously.* Having said so much, I need 
not further specify the prices as I mention the books as 
they were written. I will, however, when I am com- 
pleting this memoir, give a list of all the sums I have 
received for my literary labors. I think that " Brown, 
Jones, and Eobinson " was the hardest bargain I ever sold 
to a publisher. 

* Bince the date at which this was written I have encountered & 
dlmlDution in price. 


In 1861 the War of Secession had broken out in America, 
and from the first I interested myself much in the ques- 
tion. My mother had thirty years previously written a 
Tery popular, but as I had thought, a somewhat unjust, 
book about our cousins over the water. She had seen 
what was distasteful in the manners of a young people, 
but had hardly recognized their energy. I had entertained 
for many years an ambition to follow her footsteps there, 
and to write another book. I had already paid a short 
visit to New York city and state on my way home from 
the West Indies, but had not seen enough then to justify 
me in the expression of any opinion. The breaking out 
of the war did not make me think that the time was pe- 
culiarly fit for such inquiry as I wished to make, but it 
"did represent itself as an occasion on which a book might 
be popular. I consequently consulted the two great powers 
with whom I was concerned. Messrs. Chapman & Hall, 
ihe publishers, were one power, and I had no difficulty in 
arranging my affairs with them. They agreed to publish 
the book on my terms, and bade me Godspeed on my 
journey. The other power was the Postmaster-general 
and Mr. Rowland Hill, the Secretary of the Post-office. I 
wanted leave of absence for the unusual period of nine 
months, and fearing that I should not get it by the ordi- 
nary process of asking the secretary, I went direct to his 
lordship. "Is it on the plea of ill-health?"^he asked, 
looking into my face, which was then that of a very robust 
man. His lordship knew the civil service as well as any 
one living, and must have seen much of falseness and 
fraudulent pretense, or he would not have asked that 
•question. I told him that I was very well, but that I 
wanted to write a book. '* Had I any special ground to 
go upon in asking for such indulgence?" I had, I said, 
done my duty well by the service. There was a good deal 
of demurring, but I got leave for nine months— and I 
knew that I had earned it. Mr. Hill attached to the 


minute granting me the leave an intimation that it was ta 
be considered as a full equivalent for the special services 
rendered by me to tlie department. I declined, however, 
to accept the grace with such a stipulation, and it was- 
withdrawn by the direction of the Postmaster-general.* 

I started for the States in August and returned in the 
following May. The war was raging during the time 
that I was there, and the country was full of soldiers. A 
part of the time I spent in Virginia, -Kentucky, and 
Missouri, among the troops along the line of attack. I 
yisited all the states (excepting California) which had 
not then seceded — failing to make my way into the se- 
ceding states unless I was prepared to visit them with an 
amount of discomfort I did not choose to endure. I 
worked very hard at the task I had assigned to myself, 
and did, I think, see much of the manners and institutions 
of the people. Nothing struck me more than their per- 
sistence in the ordinary pursuits of lifg in spite of the war 
which was around them. Neither industry nor amuse- 
ment seemed tp meet with any check. Schools, hospitals, 
and institutes were by no means neglected because new 
regiments were daily required. The truth, I take it, is 
that we, all of us, soon adapt ourselves to the circumstances 
around us. Though three parts of London were in flames 
I should, no doubt, expect to have my dinner served to 
hie, if I lived in the quarter which was free from fire. 

The book I wrote was very much longer than that on 
the West Indies, but was also written almost without a 
note. It contained much information, and, with many 
inaccuracies, was a true book. But it was not well done. 
It is tedious and confused, and will hardly, I think, be of 

• During the period of my service in the Post-offlce I did very 
much special work for which I never asked any remuneration — and 
never received any, though payments for special s«-vices were com- 
mon in the department at that time. But if there was to be a ques- 
tion of Buch remuneration, I did not choose that my work should be 
valued at the price put upon it by Mr. Hill. 


future value to those who wish to make themselves ac- 
quaiuted with the United States. It was publisheil about 
the middle of the war — just at the time in which the hopes 
of those who loved the South were most buoyant, and the 
fears of those who stood by the North were the strongest. 
But it expressed an assured confidence — which never 
quavered in a page or in a line — that the North would win. 
This assurance was based on the merits of the Northern 
cause, on the superior strength of the Northern party, and 
on a conviction that England would never recognize the 
South, and that France would be guided in her policy by 
England. I was right in my prophecies, and right, I 
think, on the grounds on which they were made." The 
Southern cause was bad. The South had provoked the 
quarrel because its political supremacy was checked by the 
election of Mr. Lincoln to the presidency. It had to fight 
as a little man against a big man, and fought gallantly. 
That gallantry — and a feeling, based on a misconception 
as to American character, that the Southerners are better 
gentlemen than their Northern brethren — did create great 
sympathy here; but I believed that the country was too 
just to be led into political action by a spirit of romance, 
iind I was warranted in that belief. There was a moment 
in which the Northern cause was in danger, and the dan- 
ger lay certainly in the prospect of British interference. 
Messrs. Slidell and Mason-ttwo men insignificant in thenj- 
selves4-had been sent to Europe by the Southern party, and 
had managed to get on board the British mail steamer called 
the Trent, at Havana. A most undue importance was 
attached to this mission by Mr. Lincoln's government, and 
efforts were made to stop them. A certain Commodore 
Wilkes, doing duty as policeman on the high eeas, did 
stop the Trent, and took the men out. They were car- 
ried, one to Boston and one to New York, and were incar- 
cerated, amidst the triumph of the nation. Commodore 
Wilkes, who had done nothing in which a man could take 


glory, was made a hero and received a prize sword.^ Eng- 
land, of course, demanded her passengers back, and the 
States for a while refused to surrender them. But Mr. 
{Seward, with many political faults, was a wise man. I 
was at Washington at the time, and it was known there 
that the contest among the leading Northerners was very 
sharp on the matter. Mr. Sumner and Mr. Seward were, 
under Mr. Lincol-n, the two chiefs of the party. It was 
understood that .Mr. Sumner was opposed to the rendition 
of the men, and Mr. Seward in favor of it. Mr. Seward's 
counsels at last prevailed with the President, and England's 
declaration of war was prevented. I dined with Mr. 
Seward on the day of the decision, meeting Mr. Sumner 
at his house, and was told as I left the dining-room what 
the decision had been. During the afternoon I and others 
had received intimation through the embassy that we 
might probably have to leave Washington at an hour's 
notice. This, I think, was the severest danger that the 
Northern cause encountered during the war. 

But my book, though it was right in its views on this 
subject— and wrong in none other, as far as I know— was 
not a good book. I can recommend no one to read it now 
in order that he may be either instructed or amused— as I 
can do that on the West Indies. It served its purpose at 
the time, and was well received by the public and by the 

Before starting to America I had completed " Orley 
Farm," a novel which appeared in shilling numbers— after 
the manner in which " Pickwick," ''Nicholas Nickleby," 
and many others had been published. Most of those among 
my friends who talk to me now about my novels, and are 
competent to form an opinion on the subject, say that this 
is the best I have written. In this opinion I do not coin- 
cide. I think that the highest merit which a novel can 
have consists in perfect delineation of character, rather 
than in plot,- or humor, or pathos, and I shall before 


long mention a subsequent work in which I think the 
main character of tlie story is so well developed as to jus^- 
tify me in asserting its claim above the others. The T)lot 
of " Orley Farm " is, probably, the best I have ever made; 
but it has the fault of declaring itself, and thus coming to 
an end too early in the book. When Lady Mason tells 
her ancient lover that she did forge the will, the plot of 
*' Orley Farm " has unraveled itself — and this she does in 
the middle of the tale. Independently, however, of this 
the novel is good. Sir Peregrine Orme, his grandson, 
Madeline Stavely, Mr. Furnival, Mr. Chaffanbrass, and 
the commercial gentleman, are all good. The hunting ia 
good. The lawyer's talk is good. Mr. Moulder carves 
his turkey admirably, and Mr. Kantwise sells his tables 
and chairs with spirit. 1 do not know that there is a dull 
page in the book. I am fond of ** Orley Farm " — and am 
especially fond of its illustrations by Millais, which are the 
best I have seen in any novel in any language. 

I now felt that I had gained my object. In 1862 I had 
achieved that which I contemplated when I went to Lon- 
don in 1834, and toward which I made my first attempt 
when I began '* The Macdermots" in 1843. I bad created 
for myself a position among literary men, and had secured 
to myself an income on which I might live in ease and 
comfort, which ease and comfort have been made to in- 
clude many luxuries. From this time, for a period of 
twelve years, my income averaged £4500 a year. Of this 
I spent about two thirds and put by one. I ought, per- 
haps, to have done better — to have spent one third and 
put by two; but I have ever been too well inclined to spend 
freely that which has come easily. 

' This, however, has been so exactly the life which my 
thoughts and aspirations had marked out — thoughts and 
aspirations which used to cause me to blush with sham© 
because I was so slow in forcing myselt to the work which 
they demanded— that I have felt some pride in having 


attained it. I have before said how entirely I fail to 
reach the altitude of those who think that a man devoted 
to letters should be indifferent to the pecuniary results for 
which work is generally done. An easy income has always 
been regarded by me as a great blessing. Not to have to 
think of sixpences, or very much of shillings; not to be 
unhappy because the coals have been burned too quickly 
and the house linen wants renewing; not to be debarred 
by the rigor of necessity from opening one's hands, per- 
haps foolishly, to one's friends — all this, to me, has been 
essential to the comfort of life. I have enjoyed the com- 
fort for, I may almost say, the last twenty years, though 
no man in his youth had less prospect of doing so, or 
would have been less likely at twenty-five to have had 
such luxuries foretold to him by his friends. 

But though the money has been sweet, the respect, the 
friendships, and the mode of life which has been achieved 
have been much sweeter. In my boyhood, when I would 
be crawling up to school with dirty boots and trousers 
through the muddy lanes, I was always telling myself that 
the misery of the hour was not the worst of it, but that 
the mud and solitude and poverty of the time would in- 
sure me mud and solitude and poverty through my life. 
Those lads about me would go into Parliament, or become 
rectors and deans, or squires of parishes, or advocates 
thundering at the Bar. They would not live with me 
now — but neither should I be able to live with them in 
after-years. Nevertheless I have lived with them. AVhen, 
at the age in which others go to the universities, I became 
a clerk in the Post-office, I felt that my old visions 
were being realized. I did not think it a high calling. I 
did not know then how very much good work may be done 
by a member of Jfhe civil service who will show himself 
capable of The Post-office at last grew upon me 
and forced itself into my affections. I became intensely 
anxious that people should have their letters delivered to 


til em punctually. But my hope to rise had always heed 
built on the writing of novels, and at last by the writing 
of novels I had risen. 

I do not think that I ever toadied any one, or that I 
have acquired the character of a tuft-hunter. But here I 
do not scruple to say that I prefer the society of distin- 
guished people, and that even the distinction of wealth 
confers many advantages. The best education is to be had 
at a price as well as the best broadcloth. The son of a 
peer is more likely to rub his shoulders against well-in- 
formed men than the son of a tradesman. The graces 
come easier to the wife of him who has had great-grand- 
fathers than they do to her whose husband has been less^ 
or more, fortunate, as he may think it. The discerning 
man will recognize the information and the graces when 
they are achieved without such assistance, and will honor 
the owners of them the more because of the difficulties 
they have overcome; but the fact remains that the society 
of the well-born and of the wealthy will, sts a rule, be 
worth seeking. I say this now because these are the rules 
by which I have lived, and these are the causes which 
have instigated me to work. 

I have heard the question argued — On what terms should 
a man of inferior rank live with those who are manifestly 
superior to him? If a marquis or an earl honor me, who 
have no rank, with his intimacy, am I, in my intercourse 
with him, to remember our close acquaintance or his high 
rank? I have always said that where the difference in 
position is quite marked, the overtures to intimacy should 
always come from the higher rank; but if the intimacy be 
ever fixed, then that rank should be held of no account. 
It seems to me that intimate triendship admits of no stand- 
ing but that of equality. I cannot be the swereign's friend, 
nor, probably, the friend of many very mifbh beneath the 
Bovereign, because such equality is impossible. 

When I first came to Waltham Cross, in the winter of 


1859-60, I had almost mad« up my mind that my hunting- 
was over. I could not then count upon an income which 
would enable me to carry on an amusement which I should 
doubtless find much more expensive in England than in 
Ireland. I brought with me out of Ireland one mare, but 
she was too light for me to ride in the hunting-field. As, 
however, the money came in, I very quickly fell back inta 
my old habits. First one horse was bought, then another, 
and then a third, till it became established as a fixed rule 
that I should not have less than four hunters in the stable. 
Sometimes, when my boys have been at home, I have had 
as many as six. Essex was the chief scene of my sport, 
and gradually I became known there almost as well as 
though I had been an Essex squire, to the manner born. 
Few have investigated more closely than I have done the 
depth and breadth and water-holding capacities of an 
Essex ditch. It will, I think, be accorded to me by Essex 
men generally that I have ridden hard. The cause of my 
delight in the amusement I have never been able to an- 
alyze to my own satisfaction. In the first place, even now, 
I know very littl# about hunting— though I know very 
much of the accessories of the field. I am too blind to see 
hounds turning, and cannot therefore tell whether the fc 
has gone this way or that. Indeed, all the notice I take 
of hounds is not to ride over them. My eyes are so con- 
stituted that I can never see the nature of a fence. I 
either follow some one, or ride at it with the full convic- 
tion that I may be going into a horse-pond or a gravel- pit. 
I have jumped into both one and the other. I am very 
heavy, and have never ridden expensive horses. I am 
also old now for such work, being so stiff that I cannot 
get onto my horse without the aid of a block or a bank. But 
I ride still after the same fashion, with a boy's energy, 
determined to get ahead if it may possibly be done, hating 
the roads, despising young men who ride them, and with 
a feeling that life cannot, with all her riches, have given 


me anything better than when I have gone through a long 
run to the finish, keeping a place, not of glory, but of 
oredit, among my juniors. 



During the early months of 1863 "Orley Farm" was 
atill being brought out in numbers, and at the same time 
-*' Brown, Jones, and Robinson " was appearing in the 
Cornhill Magazi7ie. In September, 1862, "The Small 
House at AUington " began its career in the same periodi- 
cal. The work on North America had also come out in 
1863. In August, 1863, the first number of " Can You 
Forgive Her?" was published as a separate serial, and was 
continued through 1864. In 1863 a short novel was pro- 
duced in the ordinary volume form, called "Rachel Ray." 
In addition to these I published du«ag the time twp 
Tolumes of stories called " The Tales of All Countries." 
In the early spring of 1865 "Miss Mackenzie " was issued, 
in the same form as "Rachel Ray;" and in May of the 
same year " The Belton Estate " was commenced with the 
•commencement of the Fortnightly Review, of which peri- 
odical 1 will say a few words in this chapter. 

I quite admit that I crowded my wares into the market 
too quickly, because the reading world could not want such 
a quantity of matter from the hands of one author in so 
short a space of time. I had not been quite so fertile as 
the unfortunate gentleman who disgusted the publisher in 
Paternoster Row — in the story of whose productiveness I 
have always thought there was a touch of romance — but I 
had probably done enough to make both publishers and 
readers think that I was coming too often beneath their 


notice. Of publishers, however, I must speak collectively^ 
as my sins were, I think, chiefly due to the encouragement 
which I received from them individually. What I wrote- 
for the Cornhill Magazine I always wrote at the instigation 
of Mr. Smith. My other works were published by Messrs. 
Chapman & Hall, in compliance with contracts made by 
me with them, and always made with their good-wilU 
Could I have been two separate persons at one and at the- 
same time, of whom one might have been devoted to 
Cornhill and the other to the interests of the firm in 
Piccadilly, it might have been very well; but, as I pre- 
served my identity in both places, I myself became aware 
that my name was too frequent on title-pages. 

Critics, if they ever trouble themselves with these pages> 
will, of course, say that in what I have now said I have 
ignored altogether the one great evil of rapid production 
^namely, that of inferior work. And, of course, if the 
work was inferior because of too great rapidity of produc- 
tion, the critics would be right. Giving to the subject the 
best of my critical abilities, and judging of my own work 
as nearly as possible as I would that of another, I believe 
that the work which has been done quickest has been 
done the best. I have composed better stories — that iff, 
have created better plots — than those of " The Small 
House at Allington " and *' Can You Forgive Her?" and 
I have portrayed two or three better characters than are 
tp be found in the pages of either of them; but taking 
these books all through, I do not think that I have ever 
done better work. Nor would these have been improved 
by any effort in the art of story-telling, had each of these 
been the isolated labor of a couple of years. How short is 
the time devoted to the .manipulation of a plot can be 
known only to those who have written plays and novels — 
I may say also, how very little time the brain is able te 
devote to such wearing work. There are usually some 
hours of agonizing doubt, almost of despair — so, at least. 


it has been with me — or perhaps some days. And £hen, 
"with nothing settled in my brain as to the final develop- 
ment of events, with no capability of settling anything, 
but with a most distinct conception of some character or 
^jharacters, I have rushed at the work as a rider rushes at 
a fence which he does not see. Sometimes I have en- 
countered what, in hunting language, we call a cropper, 
I had such a fall in two novels of mine, of which I have 
already spoken — '* The Bertrams" and "Castle Rich- 
mond." I shall have to speak of other such troubles. 
But these failures have not arisen from over-hurried work. 
When my work has been quicker done — and it has some- 
times been done very quickly — the rapidity has been 
achieved by hot 'pressure, not in the conception, but in 
the telling of the story. Instead of writing eight pages a 
day, I have written sixteen; instead of working five days 
A week, I have worked seven. I have trebled my usual 
average, and have done so in circumstances which have 
enabled me to give up all my thoughts for the time to the 
book I have been writing. This has generally been done 
^at some quiet spot among the mountains — where there has 
been no society, no hunting, nu whist, no ordinary bouse- 
hold duties. And I am sure that the work so done has 
had in it the best truth and the highest spirit that I have 
been able to produce. At such times I have been able to 
imbue myself thoroughly with the characters I have had 
in hand. I have wandered 'alone among the rocks Jand 
woods, crying at their grief, laughing at their absurdities, 
and thoroughly enjoying their joy. I have been impreg- 
nated with my own creations till it has been my only ex- 
citement to sit with the pen in my hand, and drive my 
team before me at as quick a pace as I could make them 

The critics will again say that all this may be very well 
as to the rough work of the author's own brain, but it 
will be very far from well in reference to the style in 


which that work has been given to the public. Afjjer all, 
the vehicle whi^h' a writer uses for conveying his thoughts 
to the public should not be less important to him than 
the thoughts themselves. An author can hardly hope to 
be popular unless he can use popular language. That is 
quite true; but then comes the question of achieving a 
popular — in other words, I may say, a good and lucid- 
style. How may an author best acquire a mode of writing 
which shall be agreeable and easily intelligible to the 
reader? He must be correct, because without correctness- 
he can be neither agreeable nor intelligible. Readers will 
expect him to obey those rules which they, consciously or 
unconsciously, have been taught to regard as binding on 
language; and unless he does obey them, he will disgusts 
Without much labor, no writer will achieve such a style. 
He has very much to learn; and, when he has learned that 
much, he has to acquire the habit of using what he has 
learned, with ease. But all this must be learned and ac- 
quired — not while he is writing that which shall please^ 
but long before. His language must come from him as 
music comes from the rapid touch of the great perform- 
er's fingers; as words come from the mouth of the in- 
dignant orator; as letters fly from the fingers of the trained 
compositor; as the syllables tinkled out by little bell« 
form themselves to the ear of the telegraphist. A man 
who thinks much of his words as he writes them will gen- 
erally leave behind him work that smells of oil. I speak 
here, of course, of prose; for in poetry we know what care 
is necessary, and we form our taste accordingly. 

Eapid writing will, no doubt, give rise to inaccuracy — 
chiefly because the ear, quick and true as may be its opera- 
tion, will occasionally break down under pressure, and 
before a sentence be closed. will forget the nature of the 
composition with which it was commenced. A singular 
nominative will be disgraced by a plural verb, because 
other pluralities have intervened, and have tempted the 


'ear into plural tendencies. Tautologies will occur, be- 
cause file ear, in demanding fresh emphasis, has forgotten 
that the desired force has been already expressed. I need 
not multiply these causes of error, which must have been 
stumbling-blocks indeed when men wrote in the long sen- 
tences of Gibbon, but which Macaulay, with his multi- 
plicity of divisions, has done so much to enable us to avoid. 
A rapid writer will hardly avoid these errors altogether. 
Speaking of myself, I am ready to declare that, with 
much training, I have been unable to avoid them. But 
the writer for the press is rarely called upon — a writer of 
books should never be called upon — to send his manuscript 
hot from his hand to the printer. It has been my prac- 
tice to read everything four times at least — thrice in 
manuscript and once in print. Very much of my work I 
have read twice in print. In spite of this I know that 
inaccuracies have crept through, ** not single spies, but in 
battalions." From this I gather that the supervision has 
been insufficient, not that the work itself has been done 
too fast. I am quite sure that those passages which have 
beed written with the greatest stress of labor, and conse- 
quently with the greatest haste, have been the most 
effective and by no means the most inaccurate. 

" The Small House at Allington " redeemed my reputa- 
tion with the spirited proprietor of the CornhiU, which 
must, I should think, have been damaged by *' Brown, 
Jones, and Robinson." In it appeared Lily Dale, one of 
the characters which readers of my novels have liked the 
best. In the Jove with which she has been greeted I have 
hardly joined with much enthusiasm, feeling that she is 
somewhat of a French prig. She became first engaged to 
a snob, who jiltled her; and then, though in truth she 
loved another man who was hardly good enough, she could 
not extricate herself suflSciently from the collapse of her 
first great misfortune to be able to make up lifer mind to 
be the wife of one whom, though she loved him, she did 


nob altogether reverence. Prig as she was, she made her 
way into the hearts of many readers, both young and old; 
so that, from that time to this, I have been continually 
honored with letters, the purport of which has always been 
to beg me to marry Lily Dale to Johnny Eames. Had I 
done so, however, Lily would never have so endeared her- 
self to these people as to induce them to write letters to 
the author concerning her fate. It was because she could 
not get over her troubles that they loved her. Outside 
Lily Dale and the chief interest of the novel, ''The Small 
House at Allington " is, I think, good. The De Courcy 
family are alive, as is also Sir Raffle Buffle, who is a hero 
of the civil service. Sir Raffle was intended to represent 
a type, not a man; but the man for the picture was soon 
chosen, and I w^s often assured that the portrait was very 
like. I have never seen the gentleman with whom I am 
supposed to have taken the liberty. There is also an old 
squire down at Allington, whose life as a country gentle- 
man with rather straitened means is, I think, well de- 

Of ** Can You Forgive Her?" I cannot speak with too 
great affection, though I do not know that of itself it did 
very much to increase my reputation. As regards the 
story, it was formed chiefly on that of the play which 
my friend Mr. Bartley had rejected long since, the 
circumstances of which the reader may perhaps remember. 
The play had been called "The Noble Jilt;" but I 
was afraid of the name for a novel, lest the critics might 
throw a- doubt on the nobility. There was more of 
tentative humility in that which I at last adopted. The 
character of the girl is carried through with considerable 
strength, but is not attractive. The humorous charac- 
ters, which are also taken from the play— a buxom widow, 
who with her eyes open chooses the most scampish of 
two selfish suitors because he is the better-looking^ 
are well done. Mrs. Greenow, between Captain Bell- 


field and Mr. Ch^eseacre, is very good fun — as far as 
the fun of novels is. But that which endears the book to 
me is the first presentation which I made in it of Plan- 
tagenet Palliser, with his wife, Lady Glencdra. 

By no amount of description or asseveration could I 
succeed in making any reader understand how much 
these characters, with their belongings, have been to me 
in my latter life; or how frequently I have used them 
for the expression of my political or social convictions. 
They have been as real to me as free trade was to Mr. 
Cobden, or the dominion of a party to Mr. Disraeli; 
and as I have not been able to speak from the benches 
of the House of Commons, or to thunder from plat- 
forms, or to be eflBcacious as a lecturer, they have served 
me as safety-valves by which to deliver my soul. Mr. 
Plantagenet Palliser had appeared in " The Small House 
at Allington," but his birth had not been accompanied 
by many hopes. In the last pages of that novel he is 
made to seek a remedy for a foolish false step in life by 
marrying the grand heiress of the day — but the personage 
of the great heiress does not appear till she comes on the 
«cene as a married woman in "Can You Forgive Her?" 
He is the nephew and heir to a duke — the Duke of 
Omnium — who was first introduced in " Doctor Thorne," 
and afterward in *' Framley Parsonage," and who is one 
of the belongings of whom I have spoken. In these per- 
sonages and their friends, political and social, I have en- 
deavored to depict the faults and frailties and vices — as 
also the virtues, the graces, and the strength— of our 
highest classes; and if I have not made the strength and 
virtues predominant over the faults and vices, I have not 
painted the picture as I intended. Plantagenet Palliser I 
think to be a very noble gentleman — such a one as justifies 
to the nation the seeming anomaly of an hereditary peer- 
age and of primogeniture. His wife is in all respects very 
inferior to him; but she, too, has, or has been intended to 


Lave, beneath the thin stratum of her follies a basis of 
good principle, which enabled her to live down the con- 
viction of the original wrong which was done to her, and 
taught her to endeavor to do her duty in the position to 
which she was called. She had received a great wrong- 
having been made, when little more than a child, to marry 
a man for whom she cared nothing; when, however, 
though she was little more than a child, her love had been 
given elsewhere. She had very heavy troubles, but they 
did not overcome her. 

As to the heaviest of these troubles, I will say a word in 
vindication of myself and of the way I handled it in my 
work. In the pages of "Can You Forgive Hur?" the 
girl's "first love is introduced — beautiful, well-born, and 
utterly worthless. To save a girl from wasting herself, 
and an heiress from wasting her property on such a scamp, 
was certainly the duty of the girl's friends. But it must 
ever be wrong to force a girl into a marriage with a man 
she does not love — and certainly the more so when there is 
another whom she does love. In my endeavor to teach 
this lesson I subjected the young wife to the terrible dan- 
ger of overtures from the man to whom her heart had been 
given. I was walking, no doubt, on ticklish ground, 
leaving for a while a doubt on the question whether the 
lover might or might not succeed. Then there came to 
me a letter from a distinguished dignitary of our Church, 
a man whom all men honored, treating me with severity 
for what I was doing. It had been one of the innocent 
joys of his life, said the clergyman, to have my novels 
read to him by his daughters. But now I was writing a 
book which caused him to bid them close it! Must I^also 
turn away to vicious sensation such as this? Did I think 
that a wife contemplating adultery was a character fit for 
my pages? I asked him, in return, whether from his 
pulpit, or, at any rate, from his communion-table, he did 
not denounce adilftery to his audience; and if so, why 


should it not be open to me to preach the same doctrine 
to mine? I made known nothing which the purest girl 
could not but have learned, and ought not to have learned 
elsewhere, and I certainly lent no attraction to the sin 
which I indicated. His rejoinder was full of grace, and 
enabled him to avoid the annoyance of argumentation 
without abandoning his cause. He said that the subject 
was so much too long for letters; that he hoped I would go 
and stay a week with him in the country, so that we might 
have it out. That opportunity, however, has never yet 

Lady Glencora overcomes that trouble, and is brought,, 
partly by her own of right and wrong, and partly by 
the genuine nobility of her husband's conduct, to attach: 
herself to him after a certain fashion. The romance of 
her life is gone, but there remains a rich reality of whidi 
she is fully able to taste the flavor. She loves her rank 
und becomes ambitious, first of social, and then of polit- 
ical, ascendency. He is thoroughly true to her, after his 
thorough nature, and she, after her less perfect nature, is 
imperfectly true to him. 

In conducting these characters from one story to another 
I realized the necessity, not only of consistency — which, 
had it been maintained by a hard exactitude, would have 
been untrue to nature — but also of those changes which 
time always produces. There are, perhaps, but few of us 
•who, after the lapse of ten years, will be found to have 
changed our chief characteristics. The selfish man will 
still be selfish, and the false man false. But our manner 
of showing or of hiding these characteristics will be 
chwiged, as also our power of adding to or diminishing 
their intensity. It was my study that these people, as 
they grew in years, should encounter the changes which 
come upon us all; and I think that I have succeeded. 
The Duchess of Omnium, when she is playing the part of 
Prime Minister's wife, is the same ^man as that Lady 


Glencora who almost longs to go off with Burgo Fitz- 
gerald, but jet knows that she will never do so; and the 
Prime Minister Duke, with his wounded pride and sore 
spirit, is he who, for his wife's sake, left power and place 
when they were first offered to him — but thfey have under- 
gone the changes which a life so stirring as theirs would 
naturally produce. To do all this thoroughly was in my 
heart from first to last; but I do not Igiow that the game 
has been worth the candle. To carry out my scheme I 
have had to spread my picture over so wide a canvas that 
I cannot expect that any lover of such art should trouble 
himself to look at it as a whole. Who will read '* Can 
You Forgive her?" "Phineas Finn," "Phineas Redux," 
and "The Prime Minister " consecutively, in order that 
they may understand the characters of the Duke of Omni- 
um, of Plantagenet Palliser, and of Lady Glencora? Who 
will ever know that they should be so read? But in the 
performance of the work I had mucb gratification, and was 
enabled from time to time to have in this way that fling at 
the political doings of the day which every man likes to 
take, if not in one fashion, then in another. I look upon 
this string of characters — carried sometimes into othet 
novels than those just named — as the best work of my life. 
Taking him altogether, I think that Plantagenet Palliser 
stands more firmly on the ground than any other person- 
age I have created. 

On Christmas day, 1863, we were startled by the news of 
Thackeray's death. He had then for many months given 
up the editorship of the Cornhill Magazine—^ position for 
which he was hardly fitted either by his habits or temper- 
ament—but was still employed in writing for its pages. I 
had known him only for four years, but had grown into 
much intimacy with him and his family. I regAid him as 
one of the most tender-hearted human beings I ever knew, 
who, with an exaggerated contempt for the foibles of the 
world at large, would entertain an almost equally ex- 


aggerated sympathy with the joys and tFoubles of indi- 
vidaals around him. He had been unfortunate in early 
life — unfortunate in regard to money — unfortunate with 
an afflicted wife — unfortunate in having his home broken 
up before his children were fit to be h^s companions. This 
threw him too much upon clubs, and taught him to dislike 
general society. But it never affected his heart, or clouded 
his imagination. He could still revel in the pangs and 
joys of fictitious life, and could still feel — as he did to the 
very last — the duty of showing to his readers the evil con- 
sequences of evil conduct. It was, perhaps, his chief fault 
as a writer that he could never abstain from that dash of 
satire which he felt to be demanded by the weaknesses 
which he saw around him. -The satirist who writes noth- 
ing but satire should write but litfleT^rit will seem that 
his satire springs rather from his own cai)h§ftic nature than 
from the sins of the world in which he lives. "^Jsinyself re- 
gard "Esmond " as the greatest novel in the English Ian* 
guage, basing that judgment upon the excellence of iuS lan- 
guage, on the clear individuality of the characters, on>^the 
truth of its delineations in regard to the time selected, al5|d 
on its great pathos. There are also in it a few scenes s^ 
told that even Scott has never equaled the telling. Let 
any one who doubts this read the passage in which Lady 
Castlewood induces the Duke of Hamilton to think that 
his nuptials with Beatrice will be honored if Colonel 
Esmond will give away the bride. When he went from 
us he left behind living novelists with great names; but I 
think that they who best understood the matter felt that 
the greatest master of fiction of this age had gone. 

'* Rachel Ray '' underwent a fate which no other novel 
of mine has encountered. Some years before this a 
periodical called Oood Words had been established under 
the editorship of my friend Dr. Norman Mac.leod, a well- 
known Presbyterian pastor in Glasgow. In 1863 he asked 
me to write a novel for his magazine, explaining to me 



that his priDciples did not teach him to confine his matter 
to religious subjects, and paying me the comphment of 
toying that hei7ould feel himself quite safe in my bands. 
In reply I told him I thought he was wrong in his choice; 
that though he might wish to give a novel to the readers 
of Good Words, a novel from me would hardly be what he 
wanted, and that I could not undertake to write either 
with any specially religious tendency, or in any fashion dif- 
ferent from that which was*usual to me. As worldly and 
—if any one thought me wicked— as wicked as I had here- 
tofore been, I must still be, should I write for Good 
Words, He persisted in his request, and I came to terms 
as to a story for the periodical. I wrote it and sent it ta 
him, and shortly afterward received it back— a consider- 
able portion having been printed— with an intimation that 
it would not do. A letter more full of wailing and re- 
pentance no man ever wrote. It was, he said, all his own 
fault. He should have taken my advice. He should have 
known better. But the story, such as it was, he could not 
give to his readers in the pages of Good Words. Would I 
forgive him? 'Any pecuniary loss to which his decision 
might subject me the owner of the publication would 
willingly make good. There was some loss— or, rather, 
would have been— and that money I exacted, feeling that 
the fault had in truth been with the editor. There is the 
tale now to speak for itself. It is not brilliant, nor in any 
way very excellent; but it certainly is not very wicked. 
There is some dancing in one of the early chapters, de» 
scribed, no doubt, with that approval of the amusement 
which I have always entertained; and it was this to which 
my friend demurred. It !s more true of novels than per- 
haps of aftything else, that one man's food is another man's 

** Miss Mackenzie" was written with a desire to prove 
that a novel may be produced without any love; but even 
in this attempt it breaks down before the conclusion. In 


order that I might be strong in my purpose, I took for 
my heroine a very unattractive old maid, who was over- 
whelmed with money troubles; but even she was in love 
before the end of the book, and made a romantic marriage 
with an old man. There is in this story an attack upon 
charitable bazaars, made with a viofence which will, I 
think, convince any reader that such attempts at raising 
money were at the time very "odious to me. I beg to say 
that since that I have had no occasion to alter my opinion. 
*'Miss Mackenzie" was published in the early spring of 

At the same time I was engaged with others in establish- 
ing a periodical Review, in which some of us trusted much, 
and from which we expected great things. There was, how- 
•ever, in truth so little combination of idea among us, that 
we were not justified in our trust or in our expectations. 
And yet we were honest in our purpose, and have, I think, 
done some good by our honesty. The matter on which 
we were all agreed was freedom of speech, combined with 
personal responsibility. We would be neither conserva- 
tive nor liberal, neither religious nor free- thinking, neither 
popular nor exclusive — but we would let any man who had 
a thing to say, and knew how to say it, speak freely. 
But he should always speak with the responsibility of his 
name attached. In the very beginning I militated against 
this impossible negation of principles — and did so most 
irrationally, seeing that I had agreed to the negation of 
principles — by declaring that nothing should appear deny- 
ing or questioning the divinity of Christ, It was a most pre- 
posterous claim to make for such a publication as we pro- 
posed, and it at once drove from us one or two who had in- 
tended to join us. But we went on, and our company — lim- 
ited—was formed. We subscribed, I think, £1250 each. I, 
at least, subscribed that amount, and — having agreed to 
bring out our publication every fortnight, aftejr the man- 
fir of the well-known French publication— we called it 


The FortnigUly. We secured the services of G. H. Lewes 
as our editor. We agreed to manage our finances by a 
Board, which was to meet once a fortnight, and of which 
I was the chairman. And we determined that the pay- 
ments for our literature should be made on a liberal aud 
strictly ready-money system. We carried out our princi- 
ples till our money was all gone, and then we sold the 
copyright to Messrs. Chapman «& Hall for a trifle. But 
before we parted with our property we found that a fort- 
nightly issue was not popular with the trade through 
whose hands the work must reach the public; and, as our 
periodical had not become sufficiently popular itself to bear 
down such opposition, we succumbed, and brought it out 
once a month. Still, it was The Fortnightly, and still it 
is Tlie Fortnightly, Of all the serial publications .of the- 
day, it probably is the most serious, the most earnest, the 
least devoted to amusement, the least flippant, the least 
jocose— and yet it has the face to show itself month after 
month to the world, with so absurd a misnomer! It is, 
as all who know the laws of modern literature are aware, 
a very serious thing to change the name of a periodical* 
By doing so you begin an altogether new enterprise. 
Therefore should the name be well chosen; whereas this 
was very ill chosen, a fault for which I alone was responsi- 

That theory of eclecticism was altogether impracticable. 
It was as though a gentleman should go into the House of 
Commons determined to support no party, but to serve 
his country by individual utterances. Such gentlemen 
have gone into the House of Commons, but they have not 
served their country much. Of course, the project broke 
down. Liberalism, free-thinking, and open inquiry will 
never object to appear in company with their opposites, 
because they have the conceit to think that they can quell 
those opposites; but the opposites will not appear in con- 
junction with liberalism, free-ihinking, and open inquiry. 


As a natural consequence, our new publication became an 
organ of liberalism, free-thinking, and open inquiry. The 
result has been good; and though there is much in the 
now established principles of Jlie Fortnightly with which 
I do not myself agree, I may safely say that the publica- 
tion has assured an individuality, and asserted for itself a 
position in our periodical literature, which is well under- 
stood and highly respected. 

As to myself and my own hopes in the matter — I wa8 
craving after some increase in literary honesty, which I 
think is still desirable, but which is hardly to be attained 
by the means which then recommended themselves to me. 
In one of the early numbers I wrote a paper advocating 
the signature of the authors to periodical writing, admit- 
ting that the system should not be extended to journalistic 
articles on political subjects. I think that I made the best 
of my case; but further consideration has caused me to 
doubt whether the reasons which induced me to make an 
exception in favor of political writing do not extend them- 
selves also to writing on other subjects. ^luch of the 
literary criticism which we now have is very bad indeed; 
so bad as to be open to the charge both of dishonesty and 
incapacity. Books are criticised without being read— are 
criticised by favor — and are trusted by editors to the criti- 
cism of the incompetent. If the names of the critics 
were demanded, editors would be more careful. But I 
fear the effect would be that wft should get but little criti- 
cism, and that the public would put but little trust in 
that little. An ordinary reader would not care to have his 
books recommended to him by Jones; but the recommen- 
dation of the great unknown comes to him with all the 
weight of the Times, the Spectator, or the Saturday, 

Though I admit so much, I am not a recreant from the 
doctrine I then preached. I think that the name of the 
author does tend to honesty, and that the knowledge that 

will be inserted adds much to the author's industry and 


care. It debars him also from illegitimate license and dis- 
honest assertions. A man should never be. ashamed to 
Acknowledge that which he is not ashamed to publish. In 
The Fortnightly everything has been signed, and in this 
way good has, I think, been done. Signatures to articles 
in other periodicals have become much more common 
since The Fortnightly was commenced. 

After a time Mr. Lewes retired from the editorship, 
feeling that the work pressed too severely on his moderate 
strength. Our loss in him was very great, and there was 
considerable difficulty in finding a successor. I must say 
that the present proprietor has been very fortunate in the 
choice he did make. Mr. John Morley has done the work 
with admirable patience, zeal, and capacity. Of course, 
he has got around him a set of contributors whose modes 
of thought are what we may call much advanced; he, 
being " much advanced " himself, would not work with 
other aids. The periodical has a peculiar tone of its own; 
but it holds its own with ability, and though there are 
many who, perhaps, hate it, there are none who despise it. 
When the company sold it, having spent about £9000 on 
it, it was worth little or nothing. Now I believe it to be 
a good property. 

My own last personal concern with it was on a matter 
of fox-hunting.* There came out in it an article from the 
pen of Mr. Freeman, the historian, condemning the amuse- 
ment which I love, on the grounds of cruelty and general 
brutality. "Was it possible, asked Mr. Freeman, quoting 
from Cicero, that any educated man should find delight in 
so coarse a pursuit? Always bearing in mind my own 
connection with The Fortnightly, I regarded this almost 
as a rising of a child against the father. I felt, at any rate, 
bound to answer Mr. Freeman in the same columns, and I 
obtained Mr. Morley's permission to do so. I wrote, my 

*I have written various articles for it since, especially two oa 
Cicero, to which I devoted great labor. 


defense of fox-hunting, and there it is. In regard to the 
charge of cruelty, Mr. Freeman seems to assert that noth- 
ing unpleasant should be done to any of God's creatures 
except for a useful purpose. The protection 6f a lady's 
shoulders from the cold is a useful purpose; and there- 
fore a dozen fur-hearing animals may be snared in the 
snow and left to starve to death in the wires, in order that 
the lady may have the tippet — though a tippet of wool 
would serve the purpose as well as a tippet of fur. But 
the congregation and healtliful amusement of one or two 
hundred persons, on whose behalf a single fox may or 
may not be killed, is not a useful purpose. I think that 
Mr. Freeman has failed to perceive that amusement is as 
needful and almost as necessary as food and raiment. The 
absurdity of the further charge as to the general brutality 
of the pursuit and its consequent unfitness for an educated 
man, is to be attributed to Mr. Freeman's ignorance of 
what is really done and said in the hunting-field — perhaps 
to his misunderstanding of Cicero's words. There was a 
rejoinder to my answer, and I asked for space for further 
remarks. I could have it, the editor said, if I much wished 
it; but he preferred that the subject should be closed. Of 
course I was silejit. His sympathies were all with Mr. 
Freeman— and against the foxes, who, but for fox-hunting, 
would cease to exist in England. And I felt that The 
Fortnightly was hardly the place for the defense of the 
sport. Afterward Mr. Freeman kindly suggested to me 
that he would be glad to publish my article in a little book 
to be put out by him, condemnatory of fox-hunting gener- 
ally. He was to have the last word and the first word, 
and that power of picking to pieces which he is known to 
use in so masterly a manner, without any reply from me! 
This 1 was obliged to decline. If he Trould give me the 
last word, as he would have the first, then, I told him I 
should be proud to join him in the book. This offer did 
not, however, meet his views. 


It had been decided by the Board of Management, some- 
what in opposition to my own ideas on the subject, that 
The Fortnightly Revieio should always contain a novel. It 
was, of course, natural that I should write the first novel, 
and I wrote "The Belton Estate." It is similiar in its 
attributes to "Rachel Ray" and to *' Miss Mackenzie." 
It is readable, and contains scenes which are true to life; 
but it has no peculiar merits, and will add nothing to my 
reputation as a novelist. I have not looked at it since it 
was published; and now, turning back to it in my memory, 
I seem to remember almost less of it than of any book that 
I have written. 



"The Claverings," which came out in 1866 and 1867, 
was the last novel which I wrote for The Comhill; and it 
was for this that I received the highest rate of pay that was 
ever accorded to me. It was the same length as " Framley 
Parsonage," and the price was £2800. Whether much or 
little, it was offered by the proprietor of the magazine, and 
was paid in a single check. 

In " The Claverings " I did not follow the habit which 
had now become very common to me, of introducing per- 
sonages whose names are already known to the readers of 
my novels, and whose characters were familiar to myself. 
If I remember rightly, no one appears here who had ap- 
peared before, or who has been allowed to appear since. I 
consider the story, as a whole, to be good, tliough I am 
not aware that the public has ever corroborated that verdict. 
The chief character is that oi a young woman who has 
married, manifestly for money and rank— so manifestly 
that she does not herself pretend, even while she is making 


the marriage, that she has any other reason. The man iff 
old, disreputable, and a worn-out debauchee. Then comes 
the punishment natural to the offense. When she is free, 
the man whom she had loved, and who had loved her, iff 
engaged to another woman. He vacillates and is weak— 
in which weakness is the fault of the book, as he plays the 
part of hero. But she is strong — strong in her purpose, 
strong in her desires, and strong in her consciousness that 
the punishment which comes upon her has been deserved. 

But the chief merit of "The Claverings" is in the 
genuine fun of some of the scenes. Humor has not been 
my forte, but I am inclined to think that the characters 
of Captain Boodle, Archie Clavering, and Sophie Gorde- 
^oup are humerous. Count Pateroff, the brother of Sophie, 
is also good, and disposes of the young hero's interference 
in a somewhat masterly manner. In "The Claverings," 
too, there is a wife whose husband is a brute to her, wha 
loses an only cliild — his heir — and who is rebuked by her 
lord because the boy dies. Her sorrow is, I think, pathetic* 
From beginning to end the story is well told. But I doubt 
now whether any one reads "The Claverings." When I 
remember how many novels I have written, I have no right 
to expect that above a few of them shall endure even to the 
second year beyond publication. This story closed my 
connection with the Cornhill Magaziiie, but not with itff 
owner, Mr. George Smith, who subsequently brought out 
a further novel of mine in a separate form, and who about 
this time established the Pall Mall Gazette, to which paper 
I was for some years a contributor. 

It was in 1865 that the Pall Mall Gazette was com- 
menced, the name having been taken from a fictitious 
periodical, which was the offspring of Thackeray's brain. 
It was set on foot by the unassisted energy and resources 
of George Smith, who had succeeded, by 'means of his 
magazine and his publishing connection, in getting 
around him a society of literary men who sufficed, as far 


as literary ability went, to float the paper at once under 
faTorable auspices. His two strongest staffs, probably, 
:syere ''Jacob Omnium," whom I regard as the most for- 
cible newspaper writer of my days, and Fitz-James 
Stephen, the most conscientious and industrious. To 
them the Pall Mall Gazette owed very much of its early 
success, and to the untiring energy and general ability of 
its proprietor. Among its other contributors were George 
Lewes, Hannay— who, I think, came up from Edinburgh 
for employment on its columns — Lord Houghton, Lord 
Strangford, Charles Merivale, Greenwood (the present 
editor), Greg, myself, and: very many others— so many 
others that I have met at a Pall Mall dinner a crowd of 
guosts who would have filled the House of Commons 
more respectably than I have seen it filled even on impor- 
tant occasions. There are many who now remember — 
and, no doubt, when this is published there will be left 
some to remember— the great stroke of business which 
was done by the revelations of a visitor to one of the 
casual wards in London. A person had to be selected 
who would undergo the misery of a night among the 
usual occupants of a casual ward in a London poor-house, 
and who should at the same time be able to record what 
he felt and saw. The choice fell upon Mr. Greenwood's 
brother, who certainly possessed the courage and the 
powers of endurance. The description, which was very 
well given, was, I think, chiefly written by the brother of 
the Casual himself. It had a great effect, which was in- 
creased by secrecy as to the person who encountered all 
the horrors of that night. 1 was more than once assured 
that Lord Houghton was the man. I heard it asserted 
also that I myself had been the hero. At last the un- 
known one could no longer endure that his honors should 
be hidden, and revealed the truth— in opposition, I fear, 
to promises to the contrary, and instigated by a convic- 
tion that, if known, he could turn his honors to account. 


In the meantime, howeyer, that record of a night passed 
in a work-house had done more to establish the sale of the 
journal than all the legal lore of Stephen, or the polem- 
ical power of Higgins, or the critical acumen of Lewes. 

My work was very various. I wrote much on the sub- 
ject of the American war, on which my feelings were at 
the time very keen — subscribing, if I remember right, my 
name to all that I wrote. I contributed also some sets of 
sketches of which those concerning hunting found favor 
with the public. They were republished afterward, and 
had a considerable sale: and may, I think, still be recom- 
mended to those who are fond of hunting, as being accu- 
rate in their description of the different classes of people 
who are to be met in the hunting-field. There was also a 
set of clerical sketches, which was considered to be of 
sufficient importance to bring down upon my head the 
critical wrath of a great dean of that period. The most 
ill-natured review that was ever written upon any work of 
mine appeared in the Contemporary Review with reference 
to these clerical sketches. The critic told me that I did 
not understand Greek. That charge has been made not 
unfrequently by those who have felt themselves strong in 
that pride-prodifcing language. It is much to read Gfreek 
with ease, but it is not disgraceful to be unable to do so. 
To pretend to read it without being able, that is disgrace- 
ful. The critic however, had been driven to wrath by my 
saying that deans of the Church of England loved to re- 
visit the glimpses of the metropolitan moon. 

I also did some critical work for The Pall Mall, as I 
also did for The Fortnightly. It was not to my taste, but 
was done in conformity with strict conscientious scruples. 
I read what I took in hand, and said what I believed to be 
true, always giving to the matter time altogether incom- 
mensurate with the pecuniary result to myself. In doing 
this for The Pall Mall I fell into great sorrow. A gentle- 
man, whose wife was dear to me as if she were my owq 


aister, was in some trouble as to his conduct in the public 
fiervice. He had been blamed, as he thought, unjustly, 
and vindicated himself in a pamphlet. This he handed to 
me one day, asking me to read it, and express my opinion, 
about it if I found that I had an opinion. I thought the 
request injudicious, and I did not read the pamphlet. He 
met me again, and, handing me a second pamphlet, pressed, 
me very hard. I promised him that I would read it, and 
that if I found myself able I would express myself — but 
that I must say not what I wished to think, but what I 
did think. To this, of course, he assented. I then went 
very much out of my way to study the subject, which was 
one requiring study. I found, or thought that I found, 
that the conduct of the gentleman in his oflBce had been 
indiscreet, but that charges made against himself, affect- 
ing his honor, were baseless. This I said, emphasizing 
much more strongly than was necessary the opinion which 
I had formed of his indiscretion, as will so often be the 
case when a man has a pen in his hand. It is like a club 
or a sledge-hammer — in using which, either for defense or 
attack, a man can hardly measure the strength of the 
blows he gives. Of course there was offense, and a break- 
ing off of intercourse between loving friends, and a sense 
of wrong received, and, I must own, too, of wrong done. 
It certainly was not open to me to whitewash with honesty 
him whom I did not find to be white; but there was no 
duty incumbent on me to declare what was his color in my 
eyes — no duty even to ascertain. Bat I had been ruffled 
by the persistency of the gentleman's request, which should 
not have been made, and I punished him for his wrong- 
doing by doing a wrong myself. I must add, that before 
he died his wife succeeded in bringing us together. 

In the early days of the paper, the proprietor, who at 
that time acted also as chief editor, asked me to undertake 
a duty, of which the agony would, indeed, at no one mo- 
ment have been so sharp as that endured in -ihe casual 


ward, bnt might have been prolonged until human nature 
sank under it. He suggested to me that I should during 
an entire season attend the May meetings in Exeter Hall, 
and give a graphic and, if possible, amusing descripton of 
the proceedings. I did attend one — which lasted three 
hours — and wrote a paper which I think was called " A 
Zulu in Search of a Religion,'* But when the meeting was 
over I went to that spirited proprietor and begged him to 
impose upon me some task more equal to my strength. 
Not even on behalf of the Pall Mall Gazette, which was 
very dear to me, could I go through a second May meet- 
ing, much less endure a season of such martyrdom. 

I have to acknowledge that I found myself unfit for 
work on a newspaper. I had not taken to it early enough 
in life to learn its ways and bear its trammels. 1 was 
fidgety when any word was altered in accordance with the 
judgment of the editor, who, of course, was responsible 
for what appeared. I wanted to select my own subjects, 
not to have them selected for me; to write when I pleased, 
and not when it suited others. As a permanent member 
of a staff I was no use, and after two or three years I 
dropped out of the work. 

From the commencement of my success as a writer, 
which I date from the beginning of the Cor nhill Magazine, 
I had always felt an injustice in literary affairs which had 
never afflicted me or even suggested itself to me while I 
was unsuccessful. It seemed to me that a name once 
earned carried with it too much favor. I, indeed, had 
never reached a height to which praise was awarded as a 
matter of course; but there were others who sat on higher 
seats, to whom the critics brought unmeasured incense and 
adulation, even when they wrote, as they sometimes did 
write, trash which from a beginner would not have been 
thought worthy of the slightest notice. I hope no one will 
think that in saying this I am actuated by jealousy of 
others. Though I never reached that height, still I had 


SO far progressed that that which I wrote was received 
with too much favor. The injustice which struck me did 
not consist in that which was withheld from me, but in 
that which was given to me. I felt that aspirants coming 
up below me might do work as good as mine, and probably 
much better work, and yet fail to have it appreciated. In 
order to test this, I determined to be such an aspirant my* 
self, and to begin a course of novels anonymously, in order 
that I might see whether I could obtain a second identity 
— whether, as I had made one mark by such literary ability 
as I possessed, I might succeed in doing so again. In 1865 
I began a short tale called '' Nina Balatka," which in 
1866 was published anonymously in Blackwood's Magazine^ 
In 1867 this was followed by another of the same lengthy 
called '* Linda Tressel." I will speak of them together, 
as they are of the same nature and of nearly equal merit. 
Mr. Blackwood, who himself read the manuscript of 
" Nina Balatka," expressed an opinion that it would not 
from its style be discovered to have been written by me; 
but it was discovered by Mr. Hutton of the Spectatory who 
found the repeated use of some special phrase which had 
rested upon his ear too frequently when reading for the 
purpose of criticism other works of mine. He declared 
in his paper that ** Nina Balatka " was by me, showing, I 
think, more sagacity than good-na*ure. I ought not, 
however, to complain of him, as of all the critics of my 
work he has been the most observant, and generally the 
most eulogistic. '* Nina Balatka " never rose suflBciently 
high in reputation to make its detection a matter of any im- 
portance. Once or twice I heard the story mentioned by 
readers who did not know me to be the author, and always 
with praise; but it had no real success. The same may be 
said of "Linda Tressel." Blackwood, who, of course, 
knew the author, was willing to publish them, trusting 
that works by an experienced writer would make their way, 
even without the writer's name, and he was willing to pay 


me for them, perhaps half what they would have fetched 
with my name. But he did not find the speculation an- 
swer, and declined a third attempt; though a third such 
tale was written for him. 

Nevertheless I am sure that the two stories are good. 
Perhaps the first is somewhat the better, as being the less 
lachrymose. They were both written very quickly, but 
with a considerable amount of labor; and both were 
written immediately after visits to the towns in which 
the scenes are laid — Prague, mainly, and Nuremberg, 
Of course I had endeavored to change not only my 
manner of language, but my manner of story- telling 
aJ«o; and in this, pace Mr. Hutton, I think that I was 
successful. English life in them there was none. There 
was more of romance proper than had been usual with 
me. And I made an attempt at local coloring, at de- 
«;riptions of scenes and places, which has not been 
usual with me. In all this I am confident that^I was in a 
measure successful. In the loves, and fears, and hatreds, 
both of Nina and of Linda, there is much that is pathetic. 
Prague is Prague, and Nuremberg is Nuremberg. I know 
that the stories are good, but they misse^ the object with 
which they had been written. Of course there is not in 
this any evidence that I might not have succeeded a second 
time as I succeeded before, had I gone on with the same 
dogged perseverance. Mr. Blackwood, had I still further 
reduced my price, would probably have continued the 
•experiment. Another ten years of unpaid, unflagging 
labor might have built up a second reputation. But this, 
at any rate, did seem clear to me, that with all the increased 
advantages which practice in my art must have given me, 
I could not at once induce English readers to read what I 
gave to them, unless I gave it with my name. 

I do not wish to have it supposed from this that I quar- 
rel with public judgment in affairs of literature. It is a 
matter of course that in all things the public should trust 


to established reputation. It is as natural that a uoTel^ 
reader wanting novels should send to a library for those by 
George Eliot or Wilkie Collins, as that a lady wlien she 
wants a pie for a picnic should go to Fortnum'& Mason. 
Fortnum & Mason can only make themselves Fortnum & 
Mason by dint of time and good pies combined. If Titian 
were to send us a portrait from the other world, as certain 
dead poets send their poetry, by means of a medium, it 
would be some time before the art critic of the Times 
would discover its value. We may sneer at the want of 
judgment thus displayed, but such slowness of judgment 
38 human, and has always existed. I say all this here be- 
cause my thoughts on the matter have forced upon me the 
conviction that very much consideration is due to the 
bitter feelings of disappointed authors. 

We who have succeeded are so apt to tell new aspirants 
not to aspire, because the thing to be done may probably 
be beyond their reach. ** My dear young lady, had you 
not better stay at home and darn your stockings?" ''As, 
sir, you have asked for my candid opinion, I can only 
counsel you to try some other work of life which may be 
better suited to your abilities." What old-established suc- 
cessful author has not said such words as these to humble 
aspirants for critical advice, till they have become almost 
formulas? No doubt there is cruelty in such answers: but 
the man who makes them has considered the matter*with- 
in himself, and has resolved that such cruelty is the best 
mercy. No doubt the chances against literary aspirants 
are very great. It is so easy to aspire — and to begin! A 
man cannot make a watch or a shoe without a variety of 
tools and many materials. He must also have learned 
much. But any young lady can write a book who has a 
sufficiency of pens and paper. It can be done anywhere; 
in any clothes — which is a groat thing; at any hours— to- 
which happy accident in literature I owe my success. And 
the saccess, when achieved^ is sp pleasant I The aspirants^ 


of course, are very many; and the experienced counselor, 
when asked for his candid judgment as to this or that 
effort, knows that among every hundred efforts there will 
be ninety -nine failures. Then the answer is so ready: 
*'My dear young lady, do darn your stockings; it will be 
for the best." Or perhaps, less tenderly, to the male as- 
pirant: "You must earn some money, you say. Don't 
you think that a stool in a counting-house might be better?" 
The advice will probably be good advice— probably, no 
doubt, as may be proved by the terrible majority of fail- 
ures. But who is to be sure that he is not expelling an 
angel from the heaven to which, if less roughly treated, 
he would soar — that he is not dooming some Milton to be 
mute and inglorious, who, but for such.cruel ill-judgment, 
would become vocal to all ages? 

The answer to all this seems to be ready enough. The 
judgment, whether cruel or tender, should not be ill-judg- 
ment. He who consents to sit as judge should have 
capacity for judging. But in this matter no accuracy of 
judgment is possible. It may be that the matter sub- 
jected to the critic is so bad or so good as to make an 
assured answer possible. '' You, at any rate, cannot make 
this your vocation;" or '' You, at any rate, can succeed, 
if you will try." But cases as to which such certainty 
can be expressed are rare. The critic who wrote the arti- 
cle on the early verses of Lord Byron, which produced the 
"English Bards and Scotch Reviewers," was justified in 
his criticism by the merits of the "Hours of Idleness." 
The lines had, nevertheless, been written by that Lord 
Byron who became our Byron. In a little satire called 
"'^The Biliad," which, I think, nobody knows, are the 
following well-expressed lines: 

" When Payne Knight's ' Taste ' was issued to the town, 
A few Greek verses in the text set down 
Were torn to pieces, mangled into hash, 
Doomed to the flames as execrable trash — 


III short, were butchered rather than dissected, 
And several false quantities detected— 
Till, when the smoke had vanished from the cinders, 
'Twas just discovered that — the lines were Pindar's I" 

There can be no assurance against cases such as these; 
and yet we are so free with our advice, always bidding the 
young aspirant to desist. 

There is, perhaps, no career of life so charming as that 
of a successful man of letters. Those little unthought-of 
advantages which I just now named are in themselves at- 
tractive. If you like the town, live in the town, and do 
your work there; if you like the country, choose the 
country. It may be done on the top of a mountain or in 
the bottom of a pit. It is compatible with the rolling of 
the sea and the motion of a railway. The clergyman, the 
lawyer, the doctor, the Member of Parliament, the clerk 
in a public office, the tradesman, and even his assistant in 
the shop, must dress in* accordance with certain fixed laws; 
but the author need sacrifice to no grace, hardly even to 
propriety. He is subject to no bonds such as those which 
Jbind other men. AVho else is free from all shackle as to 
hours? The judge must sit at ten, and the attorney-gen- 
eral, who is making his £20,000 a year, must be there with 
his bag. The prime-minister must be in his place on that 
weary front bench shortly after prayers, and must sit 

there, either asleep or awake, even though or 

should be addressing the House. During all that Sunday 
which he maintains should be a day of rest, the active 
clergyman toils like a galley-slave. The actor, when 
eight o'clock comes, is bound to his footlights. The civil- 
service clerk must sit there from ten till four— unless his 
office be fashionable, when twelve to six is just as heavy 
on him. The author may do liis work at five in the morn- 
ing, when he is fresh from his bed, or at three in the 
morning, before he goes there. And the author wants no 
capital, and encounters no risks. When once he is afloat, 


the publisher finds all that— and indeed, unless he be rash^ 
finds it whether he be afloat or not. But it is in the con- 
sideration which he enjoys that the successful author finds 
his richest reward. He is, if not of equal rank, yet of 
equal standing with the highest; and if he be open to the 
amenities of society, may choose his own circles. He, 
without money, can enter doors which are closed against 
almost all but him and the wealthy. I have often heard 
it said that in this country the man of letters is not recog- 
nized. I believe the meaning of this to be that men of 
letters are not often invited to be knights and baronets. 
I do not think that they wish it — and if they had it they 
would, as a body, lose much more than they would gain, 
I do not at all desire to have letters put after my name, 
or to be called Sir Anthony, but if my friends Tom 
Hughes and Charles Reade became Sir Thomas and Sir 
Charles, I do not know how I might feel —or how my 
wife might feel — if we were left unbedecked. As it is, 
the man of letters who would be selected for titular honor, 
if such bestowal of honors were customary, receives from 
the general respect of those around him a much more 
pleasant recognition of his worth. 

If this be so— if it be true that the career of the success- 
ful literary man be thus pleasant— it is not wonderful that 
many should attempt to win the prize. But how is a man 
to know whether or not he has within him the qualities 
necessary for such a career? He makes an attempt, and 
fails; repeats his attempt, and fails again ! So many have suc- 
ceeded at last who have failed more than once or twice! AVho 
will tell him the truth as to himself? Who has power to 
find out that truth? The hard man sends him off without 
a scruple to that office-stool; the soft man assures him thac 
there is much merit in his manuscript. 

Oh, my young aspirant— if ever such a one should read 
these pages— be sure that no one can tell you! To do so 
it would be necessary not only to know what there is now 


within you, but also to foresee what time will produce 
there. This, however, I think may be said to you, with- 
out any doubt as to the wisdom of the counsel given, that 
if it be necessary for you to live by your work, do not 
l)egin by trusting to literature. Take the stool in the 
ofl&ce, as recommended to you by theliardman; and then, 
in such leisure hours as may belong to you, let the praise 
which has come from the lips of that soft man induce you 
to persevere in your literary attempts. Should you fail, 
then your failure will not be fatal; and what better could 
you have done with the leisure hours had you not so failed? 
Such double toil, you will say, is severe. Yes; but if you 
want this thing, you must submit to severe toil. 

Some time before this I had become one of the com- 
mittee appointed for the distribution of the moneys of 
the Royal Literary Fund, and in that capacity I heard 
and saw much of the sufferings of authors. I may in a 
future chapter speak further of this institution, which I 
regard with great affection, and in reference to which I 
should be glad to record certain convictions of my own; 
but I allude to it now, because the experience I have ac- 
quired in being active in its cause forbids me to advise any 
young man or woman to enter boldly on a literary career 
in search of bread. I know how utterly I should have 
failed myself had my bread not been earned elsewhere 
while I was making my efforts. During ten years of work, 
which 1 commenced with some aid, from the fact that 
others of my family were in the same profession, I did not 
earn enough to buy me the pens, ink, and paper which I 
was using; and then when, with all my experience in my 
art, I began again as from a new springing-point, I should 
have failed again unless again I could have given years to 
the task. Of course, there have been many who have done 
better than I— many whose powers have been infinitely 
greater. But then, too, I have seen the failure of many 
who were greater. 


The career, when success has been achieyed,. is certainly 
yevy pleasant; but the agonies which are endured in the 
search for that success are often terrible. And the author's 
poverty is, I think, harder to be borne than any other 
poverty. The man, whether rightly or wrongly, feels 
that the world is iJsing him with extreme injustice. The 
more absolutely he fails, the higher, it is probable, he will 
reckon his own merits; and the keener will be the sense 
of injury in that he, whose work is of so high a nature, 
cannot get bread, while they whose tasks are mean are 
lapped in luxury. '*I, with my well-filled mind, with my 
clear intellect, with all my gifts, cannot earn a 'poor crown 
a day, while that fool, who simpers in a little room behind 
a shop, makes his thousands every year." The very 
charity, to which he too often is driven, is bitterer to him 
than to others. While he takes it he almost spurns the 
hand that gives it to him, and every fiber of his heart 
within him is bleeding with a sense of injury. 

The career, when successful, is pleasant enough, cer. 
tainly; but when unsuccessful, it is of all careers the 
most agonizing. 



It is nearly twenty years since I proposed to myself to 
write a history of English prose fiction. I shall never do 
it now, but the subject is so good a one that I recommend 
it heartily to some man of letters, who shall at the same 
time be indefatigable and light-handed. I acknowledge 
that I broke down in the task, because I could not endure 
the labor in addition to the other labors of my life. 
Though the book might be charming, the work was very 
much the reverse. It came to have a terrible aspect to me, 
as did that proposition that I should sit out all the May 


meetings of a seasoil. According to my plan of such a 
history, it would be necessary to read an infinity of noyels^- 
and not only to read them, but so to read them as to point- 
out the excellences of those which are most excellent, and- 
to explain the defects of those which, though defective, 
had still reached sufficient reputation to make them worthy 
of notice. I did read ^any after this fashion — and here 
and there 1 have the criticisms which I wrote. In regard 
to many, they were written on some blank page within the 
book. I have not, however, even a list of the books so criti- 
cised. I think that the *' Arcadia" was the first, and 
" Ivanhoe " the last. My plan as I settled it at last, had 
been to begin with " Robinson Crusoe," which is the earli- 
est really popular novel which we have in our language, 
and to continue the review so as to include the works of all 
English novelists of reputation, except those who might 
still be living when my task should be completed. But 
when Dickens and Bulwer died my spirit flagged, and Ihat 
which I had already found to be very difficult had become 
almost impossible to me at my then period of life. 

I began my own studies on the subject with works 
much earlier than " Robinson Crusoe," and made my way 
through a variety of novels which were necessary for my 
purpose, but which in the reading gave me no pleasure 
whatever. I never worked harder than at the '' Arcadia," 
or read more detestable trash than the stories written by 
Mrs. Aphra Behnj but these two were necessary to my 
purpose, which was not only to give an estimate of the 
novels as I found them, but to describe how it had come 
to pass that the English novels of the present day have 
become what they are, to point out the effects which they 
have produced, and to inquire whether their great popu- 
larity has, on the whc»le, done good or evil to the people 
who read them. I still thihk that the book is one well 
worthy to be written. 

I intended to write that book to vindicate my own pro- 


Session as a novelist, and also to yindicate that public taste 
in literature which has created and nourished the profession 
which I follow. And I was starred up to make such an 
attempt by a conviction that there still exists among ua 
Englishmen a prejudice in respect to novels, which might, 
perhaps, be lessened by such a work. This prejudice is 
not against the reading of novels, as is proved by their 
general acceptance among us. but it exists strongly in 
reference to the appreciation in which they are professed 
to be held; and it robs them of much of that high char- 
acter which they may claim to have earned by their grace, 
their honesty, and good teaching. 

No man can work long at any trade without being 
brought to consider much whether that which he is daily 
doing tends to evil or to good. I have written many 
novels, and have known many writers of novels, and 1 can 
assert that such thoughts have been strong with them and 
with myself. But in acknowledging that these writers 
have received from the public a full measure of credit for 
such genius, ingenuity, or perseverance as each may have 
displayed, I feel that there is still wanting to them a just 
appreciation of the excellence of their calling, and a gen- 
eral understanding of the high nature of the work which 
they perform. 

By the common consent of all mankind who have read, 
poetry takes the highest place in literature. That nobil- 
ity of expression, and all but divine grace of words, which 
she is bound to attain before she can make her footing 
good, is not compatible with prose. Indeed, it is that 
which turns prose into poetry. When that has been in 
truth achieved, the reader knows that the writer has 
soared above the earth, and can teach his lessons some- 
what as a god might teach. He who sits down to write 
his tale in prose makes no such attempt, nor does he 
dream that the poet's honor is within his reach; but his 
teaching is of the same nature, and his lessons all tend to 


the same end. By either, false sentiments may be fos- 
tered; false notions of humanity may be engendered; false 
honor, false love, false worship may be created; by either, 
vice instead of virtue may be taught. But by each, 
equally, may true honor, true love, true worship, and true 
humanity be inculcated; and that will be the greatest 
teacher who will spread such truth the widest. But at 
present, much as novels, as novels, are bought and read, 
there exists still an idea, a feeling which is very prevalent, 
that novels at their best are but innocent. Young men 
and women, and old men and women, too, read more of 
them than of poetry, because such reading is easier than 
the reading of poetry; but they read them, as men eat 
pastry after dinner, not without some inward conviction 
that the taste is vain, if not vicious. I take upon myself 
to say that it is neither vicious nor vain. 

But all writers of ficti6n who have desired to think well 
of their own work, will probably have had doubts on their 
minds before they have arrived at this conclusion. Think- 
ing much of my own daily labor and of its nature, I felt 
myself at first to be much afflicted, and then to be deeply 
grieved, by the opinion expressed by wise and thinking 
men as to the work done by novelists. But when, by 
degrees, I dared to examine and sift the sayings of such 
men, I found them to be sometimes silly and often arro- 
gant. I began to inquire what had been the nature of 
English novels since they first became common in our own 
language, and to be desirous of ascertaining whether they 
had done harm or good. I could well remember that, in 
my own young days, they had not taken that undisputed 
possession of drawing rooms which they now hold. Fifty 
years ago, when George IV. was king, they were not, in- 
deed, treated as Lydia had been forced to treat them in 
the preceding reign, when, on the approach of elders, 
" Peregrine Pickle " was hidden beneath the bolster, and 
" Lord AinBWorth " put away under the sofa. But the 


families in which an unrestricted permission was given 
for the reading of novels wer^'vory few, and from many 
they were altogether banished. The high poetic genius 
and correct morality of Walter Scott had not altogether 
succeeded in making men and women understand that 
lessons which were good in poetry could not be bad in 
prose. I remember that in those days an embargo was 
laid upon novel-reading as a pursuit, which was to the 
novelist a much heavier tax than that want of full appre- 
ciation of which I now complain. 

There is, we all know, no such embargo now. May we 
not say that people of an age to read have got too much 
power into their own hands to endure any very complete 
embargo? Novels are read right and left, above stairs and 
below, in town houses and in country parsonages, by young 
countesses and by farmers' daughters, by old lawyers and 
by young students. It has not only come to pass that a 
special provision of them has to be made for the godly, 
but that the provision so made must now include books 
which a few years since the godly would have thought to 
be profane. It was this necessity which, a few years since, 
induced the editor of Oood Words to apply to me for a 
novel — which, indeed, when supplied was rejected, but 
which now, probably, owing to further change in the same 
direction, would have been accepted. 

If such be the case — if the extension of novel-reading 
be so wide as I have described it — then very much good or 
harm must be done by novels. The amusement of the 
time can hardly be the only result of any book that is read, 
and certainly not so with a novel, which appeals especially 
to the imagination, and solicits the sympathy of the young. 
A vast proportion of the teaching of the day — greater, 
probably, tlian many of us have acknowledged to our- 
selves — comes from these books, which are in the hands of 
all readers. It is from them that girls learn what is ex- 
pected from them, and what they are to expect when 


lovers come; and also from them that young men uncon- 
sciously learn what are, or should he, or may be, the 
charms of love—though I fancy that few young men will 
think so little of their natural instincts and powers as to 
believe that I am right in saying so. Many other lessons 
also are taught. In these times— when the desire to be 
honest is pressed so hard, is so violently assaulted by the 
ambition to be great; in which riches are the easiest road 
to greatness; when the temptations to which men are sub- 
jected dulls their eyes to the perfected iniquities of others; 
when it is so hard for a man to decide vigorously that the 
pitch, which so many are handling, will defile him if it be 
touched— men's conduct will be actuated much by that 
which is from day to day depicted to them as leading to 
glorious or inglorious results. The woman who is de- 
scribed as having obtained all that the world holds to be 
precious, by lavishing her charms and her caresses un- 
worthily and heartlessly, will induce other women to do 
the same with theirs; as will she who is made interesting 
by exhibitions of bold passion teach others to be spuriously 
pa^ionate. The young man who, in a novel, becomes a 
hero, perhaps a Member of Parliament, and almost a 
prime-minister, by trickery, falsehood, and flash cleverness, 
will have many followers, whose attempts to rise in the 
world ought to lie heavily on the conscience of the novelists 
who create 6ctitious Cagliostros. There are Jack Shep- 
pards other than those who break into houses and out of 
prisons— Macheaths, who deserve the gallows more tliaii 
Gay's hero. 

Thinking of all this, as a novelist surely must do—as I 
certainly have done through my whole career— it becomes 
to him a matter of deep conscience how he shall handle 
those characters by whose words and doijigs he hopes to 
interest his readers. It will very frequently be the case 
that he will be tempted to sacrifice something for effect, 
to «ay a word or two here, or to draw a picture there, for 


which he feels that he has the power, and which, when 
spoken or drawn, would be alluring. The regions of abso- 
lute vice are foul and odious. The savor of them, till 
custom has hardened the palate and the nose, is disgusting. 
In these he will hardly tread. But there are outskirts on 
these regions, on which sweet-smelling flowers seem to 
grow, and grass to be green. It is in these border-lands 
that the danger lies. The novelist may not be dull. If 
he commit that fault, he can do neither harm nor good. 
He must please, and the flowers and the grass in these 
neutral territories sometimes seem to give him so easy an 
opportunity of pleasing. 

The writer of stories muit please, or he will be nothing. 
And he must teach, whether he wish to teach or no. How 
shall he teach lessons of virtue and at the same time make 
himself a delight to his readers? That sermons are not in 
themselves often thought to be agreeable we all know. Nor 
are disquisitions on moral philosophy supposed to be pleas- 
ant reading for our idle hours. But the novelist, if he have a 
conscience, must preach his sermons with the same purpose 
as the clergyman, and must have his own system of etlncs. 
If he can do this efficiently, if he can make virtue allur- 
ing and vice ugly, while he charms his readers instead of 
wearying them, then I think Mr. Carlyle need not call 
him distressed, nor talk of that long ear of fiction, nor 
question wheth^ he be or not the most foolish of existing 

I think that many have done so; so many that we 
English novelists may boast, as a class, that such has been 
the general result of our own work. Looking back to the 
past generation, I may say with certainty that such was 
the operation of the novels of Miss Edgeworth, Miss 
Austen, and Walter Scott. ' Coming down to my own 
times, I find such to have been the teaching of Thackeray, 
of Dickens, and of George Eliot. Speaking, as I shall 
speak to any one who mtiy read these words, with that 


absence of self-personality which the dead may claim, I 
will boast that such has been the result of my own writing. 
Can any one, by search through the works of the six great 
English noyelists I have named, find a scene, a passage, or 
a word that would teach a girl to be immodesty, or a man 
to be dishonest? When men, in their pages, have been 
described as dishonest and women as immodest, have they 
not ever been punished? It is not for the novelist to say, 
baldly and simply: "Because you lied here or were heart- 
less there, because you, Lydia Bennet, forgot the lessons 
of your honest home, or you. Earl Leicester, were false 
through your ambition, or you, Beatrix, loved too well the 
glitter of the world, therefore you shall be scourged with 
scourges either in this world or in the next;" but it is for 
him to show, as he carries on his tale, that his Lydia, or 
his Leicester, or his Beatrix, will be dishonored in the 
estimation of all readers, by his or her vices. Let a woman 
be drawn clever, beautiful, attractive — so as to make men 
love her, and women almost envy her — and let her be 
made also heartless, unfeminine, and ambitious of evil 
grandeur, as was Beatrix, what a danger is there not in 
such a character! To the novelist who shall handle it,, 
what peril of doing harm! But if at last it have been so 
handled that every girl who reads of Beatrix shall say: 
^'Oh! not like that — let me not be like that!" and that 
every youth shall say: ** Let me not liave such a one as 
that to press to my bosom, anything rather than that!" — 
then will not the novelist have preached his sermon as 
perhaps no clergyman can preach it? 

Very much of a novelist's work must appertain to the 
intercourse between young men and young women. It is 
admitted tliat a novel can hardly be made interesting or 
successful without love. Some few miglit be named, but 
even in those the attempt breaks down, and the softness 
of love is found to bo necessary to complete the story, 
*' Pickwick " has been named as an exception to the rule> 


but even in ''Pickwick" there are three or four sets of 
lovers, whose little amatory longings give a softness to the 
work. I tried it once with '' Miss Mackenzie," but I had 
to make her fall in love at last. In this frequent allusion 
to the passion which most stirs the imagination of the 
young, there must be danger. Of that the writer of fic- 
tion is probably well aware. Then the question has to be 
asked, whether the danger may not be so averted that good 
mav be the result — and to be answered. 

In one respect the necessity of dealing with love is 
advantageous — advantageous from the very circumstance 
which has made love necessary to all novelists. It is 
necessary, because the passion is one which interests or 
has interested all. Every one feels it, has felt it, or ex- 
pects to feel it — or else rejects it with an eagerness which 
still perpetuates the interest. If the novelist, therefore, 
can so handle the subject as to do good by his handling, 
as to teach wholesome lessons in regard to love, the good 
which he does will be very wide. If T can teach politi- 
cians that they can do their business better by truth than 
by falsehood, I do a great service; but it is done to a 
limited number of persons. But if I can make young men 
and women believe that truth in love will make them 
happy, then, if my writings be popular, I shall have a 
very large class of pupils. No doubt the cause for that 
fear which did exist as to novels arose from an idea that 
the matter of love would be treated in an inflammatory 
and generally unwholesome manner. " Madam," says Sir 
Anthony, in the play, ''a circulating library in a town is 
an evergreen tree of diabolical knowledge. It blossoms 
through the year; and depend on it, Mrs. Malaprop, that 
they who are so fond of handling the leaves will long for 
the fruit at last." Sir Anthony was, no doubt, right. 
But he takes it for granted that the longing for the fruit 
is an evil. The novelist who writes of love thinks dif- 
ferently, and thinks that the honest love of an honest man 


is a treasure which a good girl may fairly hope to win; and 
that, if she can be taught to wish only for that, she will 
have been taught to entertain only wholesome wishes. 

I can easily believe that a girl should be taught to wish 
to love by reading how Laura Bell loved Pendennis. Pen- 
dennis was not, in truth, a very worthy man, nor did he 
make a very good husband; but the girl's love was so 
beautiful, and the wife's love, when she became a wife, so 
womanlike, and at the same time so sweet, so unselfish, so 
wifely, so worshipful — in the sense in which wives are told 
that they ought to worship their husbands — that I cannot 
believe that any girl can be injured, or even not benefited, 
by reading of Laura's love. 

There once used to be many who thought, and prob- 
ably there still are some, even here in England, who 
think that a girl should hear nothing of love till the time 
€ome in which she is to be marriedr That, no doubt, was 
the opinion of Sir Anthony Absolute and of Mrs. Mala- 
prop. But I am hardly disposed to believe that the old 
system was more favorable than ours to the purity of man- 
ners. Lydia Languish, though she was constrained by fear 
of her aunt to hide the book, yet had " Peregrine Pickle'' 
in her collection. While human nature talks of love so 
forcibly, it can hardly serve our turn to be silent on the 
subject. " Naturam expellas furcd tamen itsque recurret" 
There are countries in which it has been in accordance 
with th^ manners of the upper classes that the girl 
should be brought to marry the man almost out of the 
nursery — or rather, perhaps, out of the convent — without 
having enjoyed that freedom of thought which the read- 
ing of novels and of poetry will certainly produce ; but I 
do not know that the marriages so made have been thought 
to be happier than our own. 

Among Englifeh^ovels of the present day, and among 
English noTeliets, a great division is made. There are 
sensational noyels and anti-sensational, sensational novel- 


ists and anti-sensational, sensational readers and anti-sen- 
sational. The novelists who are considered to be anti- 
sensational are generally called realistic. I am realistic. 
My friend Wilkie Collins is generally snpposed to be sen- 
sational. The readers who prefer the one are supposed to 
take delight in the elucidation of character. Those who 
hold by the other are charmed by the ^continuation and 
gradual development of a plot. All this is, I think, a 
mistake — which mistake arises from the inability of the 
imperfect artist to be at the same time realistic aud sen- 
sational. A good novel should be both, and both in the 
highest degree. If a novel fail in either, there is a failure in 
art. Let those readers who believe that they do not like sen- 
sational scenes in novels think of some of those passages 
from our great novelists which have charmed them most: of 
Rebecca in the castle with Ivanhoe; of Burley in the cave 
with Morton; of the mad lady tearing the veil of the ex- 
pectant bride, in ** Jane Eyre;'* of Lady Castlewood as, in 
her indignation, she explains to the Duke of Hamilton 
Henry Esmond's right to be present at the marriage of his 
Grace with Beatrix — may I add, of Lady Mason, as she 
makes her confession at the feet of Sir Peregrine Orme? 
Will any one say that the authors of these passages have 
sinned in being over-sensational? No doubt, a string of hor- 
rible incidents, bound together without truth in detail, and 
told as affecting personages without character — wooden 
blocks, who cannot make themselves known to the reader 
as men and women — does not instruct or amuse, or even 
fill the mind with awe. Horrors heaped upon horrors, 
and which are horrors only in themselves, and not as touch- 
ing any recognized and known person, are not tragic, 
and soon cease even to horrify. And such would-be tragic 
elements of a story may be increased without end aud 
without difficulty. I may tell you of ii woman murdered 
— murdered in the same street with you, in the next 
house; that she was a wife murdered by her husband— a 


bride not yet a week a wife. I may add to it forever. I 
may say that the murderer roasted her alive. There is no 
end to it. I may declare that a former wife was treated 
with equal barbarity; and may assert that, as the murder- 
er was led away to execution, he declared his only sorrow, 
his only regret, to be, that he could not live to treat a 
third wife after the same fashion. There is nothing so 
easy as the creation and the cumulation of fearful incidents 
after this fashion. If such creation and cumulation be 
the beginning and the end of the novelist's work — and 
novels have been written which seem to be without other 
attractions— nothing can be more dull or more useless. 
But not on that account are we averse to tragedy in prose 
fiction. As in poetry, so in prose, he who can deal ade- 
quately with tragic elements is a greater artist and reaches 
a higher aim than the writer whose efforts never carry 
him above the mild walks of everyday life. The *' Bride 
of Lammermoor" is a tragedy throughout, in spite of 
its comic elements. The life of Lady Castlewood, of 
whom I have spoken, is a tragedy. Rochester's wretched 
thralldom to his mad wife, in '-Jane Eyre," is a tragedy. 
But these stories charm us, not simply because they are 
tragic, but because we feel that men and women with flesh 
and blood, creatures with whom we can sympathize, are 
struggling amid their woes. It all lies in that. No novel 
is anything, for the purposes either of comedy or tragedy, 
unless the reader can sympathize with the characters 
whose names he finds' upon the pages. Let an author so 
tell his tale as to touch his reader's heart and draw his 
tears, and ho lias, so faV, done his work well. Truth let 
there be— truth of description, truth of character, human 
truth as to men and women. If there be such truth, I 
do not know that a novel can be too sensational, 

I did intend, when I meditated that history of English 
fiction, to include within its pages some rules for the 
•>vriting of novels; or, I might perhaps say, with more 


modesty, to offer some advice on the art to such tyros in 
it as might be willing to take advantage of the experience 
of an old hand. But the matter would, I fear, be too 
long for this episode, and I am not sure that I have as yet 
got the rules quite settled in my own mind. I will, how- 
ever, say a few words on one or two points which my own 
practice has pointed out to me. 

I have from the first felt sure that the writer, when he 
sits down to commence his novel, should do so, not be- 
cause he has to tell a story, but because he has a story to 
tell. The novelist's first novel will generally have sprung 
from the right cause. Some series of events or some 
development of character will have presented itself to his 
imagination; and this he feels so strongly that he thinks 
he can present his picture in strong and agreeable lan- 
guage to others. He sits down and tells his story because 
he has a story to tell; as you, my friend, when you have 
heard something which has at once tickled your fancy or 
moved your pathos, will hurry to tell it to the first person 
you meet. But when that first novel has been received 
graciously by the public and has made for itself a success, 
then the writer, naturally feeling that the writing of 
novels is within his grasp, looks about for something to 
tell in another. He cudgels his brains, not always success- 
fully, and sits down to write, not because he has something 
which he burns to tell, but because he feels it to be in- 
cumbent on him to be telling something. As you, my 
friend, if you are very successful in the telling of that first 
story, will become ambitious of further story- telling, and 
will look out for anecdotes— in the'narration of which you 
will not improbably sometimes distress your audience. 

So it has been with many novelists, who, after some 
good work, perhaps after very much good work, have dis- 
tressed their audience because they have gone on with 
their Hvork till their work has become simply a Irade with 
them. Need I make a list of such, seeing that it wouhl 


contain the names of those who have been greatest in the 
art of British novel-writing. They have at hist become 
weary of that portion of a novelist's work which is of all 
the most essential to success. That a man, as he grows 
old, should feel the labor of writing to be a fatigue is 
natural enough. But a man to whom writing has become 
a habit may write well though he be fatigued. But the 
weary novelist refuses any longer to give his mind to that 
work of observation and reception from which has come 
his power, without which work his power cannot be con- 
tinued — which work should be going on not only when 
he is at his desk, but in all his walks abroad, in all liis 
movements through the world, in all his intercourse with 
his fellow-creatures. He has become a novelist, as another 
has become a poet, because he has, in those walks abroad, 
unconsciously, for the most part, been drawing in matter 
from all that he has seen and heard. But this has not 
been done without labor, even when the labor has been 
unconscious. Then there comes a time when he shuts 
his eyes and shuts his ears. When we talk of memory 
fading as age comes on, it is such shutting of eyes and 
ears that we mean. The things around cease to interest 
us, and we cannot exercise our minds upon them. To the 
novelist, thus wearied, there comes the demand for further 
novels. He does not know his own defect, and even if he 
did he does not wish to abandon his own profession. He 
still writes; but he writes because he lias to tell a story, 
not because he has a story to tell. What reader of novels 
has not felt the '' woodcnncss " of this mode of tellins^ 
The characters do not live and move, but are cut out of 
blocks and are propped against the wall. The incidents 
are arranged in certain lines — the arrangement being as 
palpable to the reader as it has been to the writer — but di> 
not follow each other as results naturally demanded by 
previous action. The reader can never feel — as he ought 
to feel — that only for that flame of the ey(^, only for that 


angrj word, only for that moment of weakneBs, all might 
have been different. The course of the tale is one piece 
of stiff mechanism, in which there is no room for a doubt. 
These, it may be said, are reflections^ which I, being an 
old novelist, might make useful to myself for discontinu- 
ing my work, but can hardly be needed by those tyros of 
whom I have spoken. That they are applicable to myself 
I readily admit, but I also find that they apply to many 
beginners. Some of us who are old fail at last because we 
are old. It would be well that each of us should say to 

" Solve senescentem mature sanus equum, ne 
Peccet ad extremum ridendus." 

But many young fail also, because they endeavor to tell 
stories when they have none to tell. And this comes from 
idleness rather than from innate incapacity. The mind 
has not been sufficiently at work when the tale has been 
■commenced, nor is it kept sufficiently at work as the tale 
is continued. I have never troubled myself much about 
the construction of plots, and am not now insisting spe- 
■cially on thoroughness in a branch of work in which I. 
myself have not been very thorough. I am not sure that 
the construction of a perfected plot has been at any period 
within my power. But the novelist has other aims than the 
elucidation of his plot. He desires to make his readers so 
intimately acquainted with his characters that the creatures 
of his brain should *be to them speaking, moving, living, 
human creatures. This he can never do unless he know 
those fictitious personages himself, and he can never know 
them unless he can live with them in the full reality of 
established intimacy. They must be with him as he lies 
down to sleep, and as he wakes from his dreams. He 
must* learn to hate them and to love them. He must argue 
with them, quarrel with them, forgive them, and even 
submit to them. He must know of them whether they be 
-cold-blooded or passionate, whether true or false, and how 


far trne, and bow far false. The depth and the breadth 
and the narrowness and the shallowness of each should bo 
clear to him. And, as here, in oar outer world, we know 
that men and women change — become worse or better as^ 
temptation or conscience may guide them — so should these 
creations of his change, and every change should be noted 
by him. On the last day of each month recorded, every 
person in his novel should be a month older than on the 
first. If the would-be novelist have aptitudes that way, 
all this will come to him without much struggling; but if 
it do not come, I think he can only make novels of 

It is so that I have lived with my characters, and thence 
has come whatever success I have obtained. There is a 
gallery of them, and of all in that gallery I may say that I 
know the tone of the voice, and the color of the hair, 
every flame of the eye, and the very clothes they wear. Of 
each man I could assert whether he would have said these 
or the other words; of every woman whether she would 
then have smiled or so have frowned. When I shall feel 
that this intimacy ceases, then I shall know that the old 
horse should be turned out to grass. That I shall feel it 
when I ought to feel it I will by no means say. I do not 
know that I am at all wiser than Gil Bias' canon; but I do 
know that the power indicated is one without which xhe 
teller of tales cannot tell them to any good effect. 

The language in which the novelist is to put forth his 
etory, the colors with which he is to paint his picture, 
must, of course, be to him a matter of much consideration. 
Let him have all other possible gifts— imagination, obser- 
Tation, erudition, and industry — they will avail him noth- 
ing for his purpose, unless he can put forth his work in 
pleasant words. If he be confused, tedious, harsh, or in- 
harmonious, readers will certainly reject him. The read- 
ing of a volume of history or on science may represent 
itself as a duty; and though the duty may by a bad style 


be made very disagreeable, tlie conscientious reader will, 
perhaps, perform it. But the noyelist will be assisted by 
no such feeling. Any reader may reject his work without 
the burden of a sin. It is the first necessity of his position 
that he make himself pleasant. To do this, much more is 
necessary than to write correctly. He may, indeed, be 
pleasant without being correct — as I think can be proved 
by the works of more than one distinguished novelist. But 
he must be intelligible— intelligible without trouble; and 
he must be harmonious. 

Any writer who has re/id even a little will know what is 
meant by the word intelligible. It is not sufiBcient that 
there be a meaning that may be hammered out of the sen- 
tence, but that the language should be so pellucid that the 
meaning should be rendered without an effort of the reader; 
and not only some proposition of meaning, but the very 
sense, no more and no less, which the writer has intended 
to put into his words. What Macaulay says should be re- 
membered by all writers: "How little the all-important 
art of making meaning pellucid is studied now! Hardly 
any popular author except myself thinks of it." The 
language used should be as ready and as efficient a con- 
ductor of the mind of the writer to the mind of^the reader 
as is the electric spark which passes from one battery to 
another battery. In all written matter the spark should 
carry everything; but in matters recondite the recipient 
will search to see that he misses nothing, and that he 
takes nothing away too much. The novelist cannot ex- 
pect that any such search will be made. A young writer, 
who will acknowledge the truth of what I am saying, will 
often feel himself tempted by the difficulties of language 
to tell himself that some one little doubtful passage, some 
single collocation of words, which is not quite what it 
ought to be, will not matter. I know well what a stum- 
bling-block such a passage may be. But he should leave 
Done such behind him as he goes on. The habit of writing 


clearly soon comes to the writer who is a severe critic to 

As to that harmonious expression which I think is re- 
quired, I shall find it more difficult to express my mean- 
ing. It will be granted, I think, by readers, that a style 
may be rough, and yet both forcible and intelligible; but 
it will seldom come to pass tliat a novel written in a rough 
style will be popular— and less often that a novelist who 
habitually uses such a style will become soi The har- 
mony which is required must come from the practice of the 
ear. There are few ears naturally so dull that they cannot, 
if time be allowed to them, decide whether a sentence, 
when read, be or be not harmonious. And the sense of 
such harmony grows on the ear, when the intelligence has 
once informed itself as to what is, and what is not, har- 
monious. The boy, for instance, who learns with accur- 
acy the prosody of a Sapphic stanza, and has received 
through his intelligence a knowledge of its parts, will soon 
tell by his ear whether a Sapphic stanza be or be not cor- 
rect. Take a girl, endowed with gifts of music, well in- 
structed in her art, with perfect ear, and read to her such 
a stanza with two words transposed, as, for instance — 

" Mercuri, nam te docilis magistro 
Movit Amphion canendo lapides, 
Tuque testudo resonare septem 
Callida nervis — " 

and she will find no halt in the rhythm. But a school- 
boy with none of her musical acquirements or capacities, 
who has, however, become familiar with the meters of the 
poet, will' at once discover the fault. And so will the 
writer become familiar with what is harmonious in prose. 
But in order that familiarity may serve him in his busi- 
ness, he must so train his ear that he shall be able to 
weigh the rhythm of every word as it falls from his pen. 
This, when it has been done for a time, even for a short 
time^ will ]3ecome so habitual to him that he will have ap- 


predated the metrical duration of every syllable before it 
shall have dared to show itself upon paper. The art of 
the orator is the same. He knows beforehand how each 
sound which he is about to utter will affect the force of 
his climax. If a writer will do so he will charm his read- 
ers, though his readers will probably not know how they 
have been charmed. 

In writing a novel the author soon becomes aware that 
a burden of many pages is before him. Circumstances re- 
quire that he should cover a certain/ and generally not a 
very confined, space. Short novels are not popular with 
readers generally. Critics often complain of the ordinary 
length of novels, of the three volumes, to which they are 
subjected; but few novels which have attained great suc- 
cess in England have been told in fewer pages. The 
novel- writer who sticks to novel-writing as his profession 
will certainly find that this burden of length is incumbent 
on him. How shall he carry his burden to the end? How 
shall he cover his space? Many great artists have by their 
practice opposed the doctrine which I now propose to 
preach; but they have succeeded, I think, in spite of their 
fault,"and by dint of their greatness. There should be no 
episodes in a novel. Every sentence, every word, through 
all those pages, should tend to the telling of the story. Such 
episodes distract the attention of the reader, and always 
do so disagreeably. Who has not felt this to be the case, 
even with *' The Curious Impertinent, *' and with the 
'' History of the Man of the Hill." And if it be so with 
Cervantes and Fielding, who can hope to succeed? Though 
the novel which you have to write must be long, let it be 
all one. And this exclusion of episodes should be carried 
down into the smallest details. Every sentence and every 
word used should tend to the telling of the story. " But,"' 
the young novelist will say, '* with so many pages before 
me to be filled, how shall I succeed, if I thus confine my- 
self; how am I to know beforehand what space this story 


of mine will require? There must be the three volumes, 
or the certain number of magazine pages, which I have 
oontracted to supply. If I« may not be discursive should 
occasion require, how shall I complete my task? The 
painter suits the size of his canvas to his subject, and must 
I, in my art, stretch my subject to my canvas?" This un- 
doubtedly must be done by the novelist; and if he will 
learn his business, may be done without injury to his 
-effect. He may not paint different pictures on the same 
oanvas, which he will do, if he allow himself to wander 
^way to matters outside his own story; but by studying 
proportion in his work, he may teach himself so to tell his 
«torj that it shall naturally fall into the required length. 
Though kis story should be all one, yet it may have many 
parts. Though the plot itself may require but few char- 
acters, it may be so enlarged as to find its full develop- 
ment in many. There may be subsidiary plots, which 
shall all tend to the elucidation of the main story, and 
which will take their places as part of one and the same 
work, as there may be many figures on a canvas, which 
shall not to the spectator seem to form themselves into 
separate pictures. 

There is no portion of a novelist's work in which this 
fault of episodes is so common as in the dialogue. It is 
so easy to make any two persons talk on any casual subject, 
with which the writer presumes himself to be conversant! 
Literature, philosophy, politics, or sport, may thus be 
handled in a loosely discursive Htyle; and the writer, while 
indulging himself, and filling bis pages, is apt to think 
that he is pleasing his reader. I think he can make no 
greater mistake. The dialogue is generally the most agree- 
able part of a novel; but it is only so as long as it tends in 
some way to the telling of the main story. It need not 
seem to be confined to that, but it should always have a 
tendency in that direction. The unconscious critical 
acumen of a reader is both just and severe. When a long 


dialogue on extraneous matter reaches his mind, he at 
once feels that he is being cheated into taking something 
which he did not bargain to accept when he took up that 
novel. He does not at that moment require politics or 
philosophy, but he wants his story. He will not, perhaps, 
be able to say in so many words that at some certain point 
the dialogue has deviated from the story; but when it does 
so he will feel it, and the feeling will be unpleasant. Let 
the intending novel-writer, if he doubt this, read one of 
Bulwer's novels — in which there is very much to charm — 
and then ask himself whether he has not been offended by 
devious conversations. 

And the dialogue, on which the modern novelist, in 
consulting the taste of his probable readers, must depend 
most, has to be constrained also by other rules. The 
writer may tell much of his story in conversations, but he 
may only do so by putting such words into the mouths of 
his personages as persons so situated would probably use. 
He is not allowed for the sake of his tale, to make his 
characters give utterance to long speeches, such as are not 
customarily heard from men and women. The ordinary 
talk of ordinary people is carried on in short, sharp, ex- 
pressive sentences, which, very frequently, are never com- 
pleted, the language of which even among educated people 
is often incorrect. The novel-writer, in constructing his 
dialogue, must so steer between absolute accuracy of 
language — which would give to liis conversation an air of 
pedanrry — and the slovenly inaccuracy of ordinary talkers 
— which, if closely followed, would offend by an appearance 
of grimace — as to produce upon the car of his readers a 
sense of reality. If he be quite real, he will seem to at- 
tempt to be funny. If he be quite correct, he will seem to 
be unreal. And above all, let the speeches be short. No 
•character bhould utter much above a dozen words at a 
breath, uiiks.s the writer can justify to himself a longer 
flood of speech, by the speciality of the occasion. 


In all this human nature must be the novel-writer's 
guide. No doubt effective novels have been written in 
which human nature has been set at defiance. I might 
name *' Caleb Williams " as one, and **Adam Blair" as 
another. But the exceptions are not more than enough to 
prove the rule. But in following human nature he must 
remember that he does so with a pen in his hand, and that 
the reader who will appreciate human nature will also de- 
mand artistic ability and literary aptitude. 

The young novelist will probably ask, or more probably 
bethink himself, how he is to acquire that knowledge of 
human nature which will tell him with accuracy what men 
and women would say in this or that position. He must 
acquire it as the compositor, who is to print his words, has 
learned the art of distributing his type — by constant and 
intelligent practice. Unless it be given to him to listen 
and to observe, so to carry away, as it were, the manners 
of people in his memory, as to be able to say to himself, 
with assurance, that these words might have been said in 
a given position, and that those other words could not 
have been said, I do not think that in these days he can 
succeed as a novelist. 

And then let him beware of creating tedium! Who has 
not felt the charm of a spoken story up to a certain point, 
and then suddenly become aware that it has become too 
long, and is'the reverse of charming. It is not only that 
the entire book may have this fault, but that this fault 
may occur in chapters, in passages, in pages, in paragraphs. 
I know no guard against this so likely to be effective as 
the feeling of the writer himself. When once the sense 
that the thing is becoming long has grown upon him, he 
may be sure that it will grow upon his readers. I see the 
smile of some, who will declare to themselves that the 
words of a writer will never be tedious to himself. Of the 
TFiiter pf whom this may be truly said, it may be said'vith 
equal truth, that he will always be tedious to his readers. 




In this chapter I will venture to name a few successful 
novelists of my own time, with whose works I am ac- 
quainted; and will endeavor to point whence their success 
has come, and why they have failed when there has been 

I do not hesitate to name Thackeray the first. His 
knowledge of human nature was supreme, and his charac- 
ters stand out as human beings, with a force and a truth 
which has not, I think, been within the reach of any 
other English novelist in any period. I know no character 
in fiction, unless it be Don Quixote, with whom the reader 
becomes so intimately acquainted as with Colonel New- 
combe. How great a thing it is to be a gentleman at all 
parts! How we admire the man of whom so much may 
be said with truth ! Is there any one of whom we feel more 
sure in this respect than of Colonel Newcombe? It is not 
because Colonel Newcombe is a perfect gentleman that we 
think Thackeray's work to have been so excellent, but 
because he has had the power to describe him ^ssuch, and 
to force us to love him, a weak and silly old man, on 
account of this grace of character. 

It is evident from all Thackeray's best work that he 
lived with the characters he was creating. He had always 
a story to tell until quite late in life; and he shows us that 
this was so, not by the interest which he had in his own 
plots, for I doubt whether his plots did occupy much of 
his mind, but by convincing us that his characters were 
alive to himself. With Becky Sharpe, with Lady Castle- 
wood and her daughter, and with Esmond, with Warring- 
ton, Pendennis, and the Major, with Colonel Newcombe 


and with Barry Lyndon, he must have lived in perpetual 
intercourse. Therefore, he has made these personages 
real to us. ^ 

Among all our novelists his style is the purest, as to my 
ear it is also the most harmonious. Sometimes it is dis- 
figured by a slight touch of affectation, by little conceits 
which sraell«of the oil; but the language is always lucid. 
The reader, without labor, knows what he means, and 
knows all that he liieans. As well as I can remember, he 
deals with no episodes. I think that any critic, examin- 
ing his work minutely, would find that every scene, and 
every part of every scene, adds something to the clearness 
with which the story is told. Among all his stories there 
is not one which does not leave on the mind a feeling of 
distress that women should ever be immodest or men dis- 
honest, and of joy that women should be so devoted and 
men so honest. How we hate the idle selfishness of Pen* 
dennis, the worldliness of Beatrix, the craft of Becky 
Sharpe! how we love the honesty of Colonel Newcombe, 
the nobility of Esmond, and the devoted affection of Mrs. 
Pendennis! The hatred of evil and love of good can hardly 
have come upon so many readers without doing much good. 

Late in Thackeray's life — he never was an old man, but 
toward the end of his career — he failed in his power of 
charming, because he allowed his mind to become idle. In 
the plots which he conceived, and in the language which 
he used, I do not know that there is any perceptible 
change; but in ** The Virginians " and in " Philip " the 
reader is introduced to no character with which he makes 
A close and undying acquaintance. And this, I have no 
doubt, is so because Thackeray himself had no such in- 
timacy. His mind had come to be weary of that fictitious 
life which is always demanding the labor of new creation, 
and he troubled himself with his two Virginians and his 
Philip only when he was seated at his desk. 
At the present moment George Eliot is the first of 


English novelists, and I am disposed to^ place her second 
of those of my time. She is best known to the literary 
world as a writer of prose fiction, and not improbably 
whatever of permanent fame she may acquire will come 
froDrf her novels. But the nature of her intellect is very 
far removed indeed from that which is common to the 
tellers of stories. Her imagination is, no floubt, strong, 
but it acts in analyzing rather than in creating. Every- 
thing that comes before her is pulled to pieces so that the 
inside of it shall be seen, and be seen, if possible, by her 
readers as clearly as by herself. This searching analysis 
is carried so far that, in studying her later writings, one 
feels one's self to be in company with some philosopher 
rather than with a novelist. I doubt whether any young 
person can read with pleasure either "Felix Holt/' 
"Middlemarch," or "Daniel Deronda," I know that 
they are very difficult to many that are not young. 

Her personifications of character have been singularly 
terse and graphic, and from them has come her great 
hold on the public, though by no means the greatest effect 
which she has produced. The lessons which she teaches 
remain, though it is not for the sake of the lessons that 
her pages are read. Seth Bede, Adam Bede, Maggie and 
Tom Tulliver, old Silas Marner, and, much above all, 
Tito, in "Komola," are characters which, when once 
known, can never be forgotten. I cannot say quite so- 
much for any of those in her later works, because in them 
the philosopher so greatly overtops the portrait painter^ 
that, in the dissection of the mind, the outward signs 
seem to have been forgotten. In her, as yet, there is no- 
symptom whatever of that weariness of mind which, 
when felt by the reader, induces him to declare that the 
author has written himself out. It is not from decadence 
that we do not have another Mrs. Poyser, but because the 
author soars to things which seem to her to be higher thaa 
Mrs. Poyser. 


It is, I think, the defect of George Eliot that she strug- 
gles too hard to do work that shall be excellent. She lacks 
ease. Latterly the signs of this have been conspicuous in 
her style, which has always been and is singularly correct, 
but which has become occasionally obscure from her toa 
great desire to be pungent. It is impossible not to feel 
the struggle, and that feeling begets a flavor of affecta- 
tion. In "Daniel Deronda," of which at this moment 
only a portion has been published, there are sentences 
which I have found myself compelled to read three times 
before I have been able to take home to myself all that the 
writer has intended. Perhaps I may be permitted here to 
say, that this gifted woman was among my dearest and most 
intimate friends. As I am speaking here of novelists, I 
will not attempt to speak of George Eliot's merit as a 

There can be no doubt that the most popular novelist of 
my time — probably the most popular English novelist of 
any time — has been Charles Dickens. He has now been 
dead nearly six years, and the sale of his books goes on as 
it did during his life. The certainty with which his novels 
are found in every house — the familiarity of his name in 
all English-speaking countries — the popularity of such 
characters as Mrs. Gamp, Micawber, and Pecksniff, and 
many others whose names have entered into the English 
language and become well-known words — the grief of the 
country at his death, and the honors paid to hirtri at his 
funeral, all testify to his .popularity. Since the List book 
he wrote himself, I doubt whether any book has been so 
popular as his biography by John Forster. There is no 
withstanding such testimony as this. Such evidence of 
popular appreciation should go for very much, almost for 
everything, in criticism on the work of a novelist. The 
primary object of a novelist is to please; and this man's 
novels have been found more pleasant than those of any 
other writer. It might, of course, be objected to this. 


that though the hooks have pleased, they have been injuri- 
ous, that their tendency has been immoral and their teach- 
ing vicious; but it is almost needless to say that no such 
charge has ever been made against Dickene. His teaching 
has ever been good. From all which, there arises to the 
critic a question whether, with such evidence against him 
as to the excellence of this writer, he should not subor- 
dinate his own opinion to the collected opinion of the 
world of readers. To me it almost seems that I must be 
wrong to place Dickens after Thackeray and George Eliot, 
knowing as I do that so great a majority put him above 
those authors. 

My own peculiar idiosyncrasy in the matter forbids me 
to do so. I do acknowledge that Mrs. Gramp, Micawber, 
Pecksniff, and others have become household words in 
every house, as though they were human beings; but to 
my judgment they are not human beings, nor are any of 
the characters human which Dickens has portrayed. It 
has been the peculiarity and the marvel of this man's 
power that he has invested his puppets with a charm that 
has enabled him to dispense with human nature. There 
is a drollery about them, in my estimation, very much 
below the humor of Thackeray, but which has reached 
the intellect of all; while Thackeray's humor has escaped 
the intellect of many. Nor is the pathos of Dickens 
human. It is stagey and* melo-dramatic. But it is so 
expreseed that it touches every heart a little. There is no 
real life in Smike. His misery, his idiotcy, his devotion 
for Nicholas, his love for Kate, are all overdone and in- 
compatible with each other. But still the reader sheds a 
tear. Every reader can find a tear for Smike. Dickens's 
novels are like Boucicault's plays. lie has known how to 
draw his lines broadly, so that all should see the color. 

He, too, in his best days, always lived with his char- 
acters; and he, too, as he gradually ceased to have the 
power of doing so, ceased to charm. Though they are not 


hnman beings, we all remember Mrs. Gamp and Pickwick. 
The Boffins and Veneerings do not, 1 think, dwell in the 
minds of so many. 

Of Dickens's style it is impossible to "speak in praise. 
It is jerky, nugrammatical, and created by himself in de- 
fiance of rules — almost as completely as that created by 
Garlyle. To readers who have taught themselves to regard 
language, it must, therefore, be unpleasant. But the 
critic is driven to feel the weakness of his criticism,, 
when he acknowledges to himself — as he is compelled in 
all honesty to do — that with the language, such as it is, 
the writer has satisfied the great mass of the readers of 
his country. Both these great writers have satisfied the 
readers of their own pages; but both have done infinite 
harm by creating a school of imitators. No young- 
novelist should ever dare to imitate the style of Dickens. 
If such a one wants a model for his language, let him take- 

Bulwer, or Lord Lytton — but I think that he is still 
better known by his earlier name — was a man of very great- 
parts. Better educated than either of those I have named 
before him, he was always able to use his erudition, and he 
thus produced novels from which very much not only may 
be, but must be, learned by his readers. He thoroughly 
understood the political status of his own country, a sub- 
ject on which, I think, Dickens was marvelously ignorant, 
and which Thackeray had never studied. He had read 
extensively, and was always apt to give his readers the 
benefit of what he knew. The result has been that very 
much more than amusement may be obtained from Bul- 
wer'e novels. There is also a brightness about them — the 
result rather of thought than of imagination, of study and 
of care, than of mere intellect — which has made many of 
them excellent in their way. It is perhaps improper to 
class all his novels together, as he wrote in varied manners, 
making in his earlier works, such as ** Pelham " and 


*' Ernest Maltravers," pictures of a fictitious life, and 
afterward pictures of life as he believed it to be, as in 
'' My Novel " aud ** The Ca-xtons." But from all of them 
there comes the same flavor of an effort to produce effect. 
The effects are produced, but it would have been better if 
the flavor had not been there. 

I cannot say of Bulwer as I have of the other novelists 
whom I have named, that he lived with his characters. 
He lived with his work, with the doctrines which at the 
time he wished to preach, thinking always of the effects 
whi(5h he wished to preach; but I do not think he ever 
knew his own personages, and therefore neither do we 
know them. Even Pelham and Eugene Aram are not 
human beings to us, as are Pickwick and Colonel Newcome 
and Mrs. Poyser. 

In his plots Bulwer has generally been simple, facile, 
and successful. The reader never feels with him, as he 
does with Wilkie Collins, that it is all plot, or, as with 
George Eliot, that there is no plot. The story comes nat- 
urally, without calling for too much attention, and is thus 
proof of the completeness of the man's intellect. His lan- 
guage is clear, good, intelligible English, but it is defaced 
by mannerism. In all that he did, affectation was his fault. 

How shall I speak of my dear old friend Charles Lever, 
and his rattling, jolly, joyous, swearing Irishmen. Surely 
never did a sense of vitality come so constantly from a 
man's pen, nor from man's voice, as from his! I knew 
him well for many years, and whether in sickness or in 
health I have never come across him without finding him 
to be running over with wit and fun. Of all the men I 
have encountered, he was the surest fund of drollery, I 
have known many witty men, many who could say good 
things, many who would sometimes be ready to say them 
when wanted, though they would sometimes fail — but he 
never failed. Rouse him in the middle of the night, and 
wit would come from him before he was half awake. And 


yet he never monopolized the talk, was never a bore. He 
would take no more than his own share of the words 
spoken, and would yet seem to brighten all that was said 
daring the night. His earlier novels— the later I have not 
read— are just like his conversation. The fun never flags, 
and to me, when I read them, they were never tedious. 
As to character, he can hardly be said to have produced 
it. Corney Delauey, the old man-servant, may perhaps be 
named as an exception. 

Lever's novels will not live long, even if they may be 
said to be alive now, because it is so. What was his man- 
ner of working I do not know, but I should think it must 
have been very quick, and that he never troubled himself 
on the subject, except when he was seated with a pen in 
his hand. 

Charlotte Bronte was surely a marvelous woman. If it 
could be riglit to judge the work of a novelist from one 
small portion of one novel, and to say of an author that 
he is to be accounted as strong as he shows himself to be 
in his strongest morsel of work, I should be inclined to put 
Miss Bronte very high indeed. I know no interest more 
thrilling than that which she has been able to throw into 
the characters of Rochester and the governess, in the secr 
ond volume of **Jane Eyre."^ She lived with those 
characters, and felt every fiber of the heart, the longings of 
the one and the sufferings of the other. And therefore, 
though the end of the book is weak, and the beginning not 
very good, I venture to predict that ''Jane Eyre" will be 
read among English novels when many whose names are 
now better known shall have been forgotten. "Jane 
Eyre " and " Esmond " and *' Adam Bede" will be in the 
hands of our grandchildren when "Pickwick" and 
" Pelham " and " Harry Lorrequer " are forgotten; because 
the men and women depicted are human in their aspira- 
tions, human in their sympathies, and human in their 



In ''Villette," too, and in ''Shirley," there is to be 
found human life as natural and as real, though in circum- 
stances not so full of interest as those told in "Jane 
Eyre." The character of Paul, in tlie former of the two, 
is a wonderful study. She must herself have bee*i in love 
■with some Paul when she wrote the book, and have been 
determined ta prove to herself that she was capable of lov- 
ing one whose exterior circumstances were mean and in 
every way unprepossessing. 

There is uo writer of the present day who has so much 
puzzled me by his eccentricities, impracticabilities, and 
capabilities as Charles Reade. I look upon him as endowed 
almost with genius, but as one who has not been gifted 
by nature with ordinary powers of reasoning. He can see 
what is grandly noble, and admire it with all his heart. 
He can see, too, what is foully vicious, and hate it with 
equal ardor. But in the common affairs of life he cannot 
see what is right or wrong; and as he is altogether un- 
willing to be guided by the opinion of others, he is con- 
stantly making mistakes in liis litefary career, and sub- 
jecting himself to reproach which he hardly deserves. He 
means to be honest. He means to be especially honest, 
more honest than other people. He has written a book 
called " The Eighth Commandment," on behalf of honesty 
in literary transactions— a wonderful work, which has, 
I believe, been read by a very few. I never saw a copy 
except that in my own library, or heard of any one who 
knew the book. Nevertheless it is a volume that must 
have taken very great labor, and have been written— as, 
indeed, he declares that it was written— without the hope 
of pecuniary reward. He makes un appeal to the British 
parliament and British people on behalf of literary honesty, 
declaring that, should he fail— "I shall have to go on 
blushing for the people I was born among." And yet, of 
all the writers of my day, he has seemed to me to under- 
stand literary honesty the least. On one occasion, as he 


tells US in this book, he bought for a certain sum, from a 
Freucb author, the right of using a plot taken from a play, 
which he probably might have used without such purchase, 
and also without infringing any international copyright act. 
The French author not unnaturally praises him for the 
transaction, telling him that he is '' un vrai gentleman." 
The plot was used by Reade in a novel; and a critic, dis- 
covering the adaptation, made known his discovery to the 
public. Whereupon tiie novelist became angry, called his 
critic a pseudonymuucle, and defended himself by stating 
the fact of his own purchase. In all this he seems to me 
to ignore what we all mean when we talk of literary 
plagiarism and literary honesty. The sin of which the 
author is accused is not that of taking another man's prop- 
erty, but of passing oS as his own creation that which he 
does not himself create. When an author puts his name to 
a book be claims to have written all that there is therein, 
unless he makes direct sigaification to the contrary. Some 
years subsequently there arose another similar question, 
in which Mr. Readers opinion was declared even more 
plainly, and certainly very much more publicly. In a tale 
which he wrote he inserted a dialogue which he took from 
Swift, and took without any acknowledgment. As might 
have been expected, one of the critics of the day fell foul 
of him for this barefaced plagiarism. The author, how- 
ever, defended himself, with much abuse of the critic, by 
asserting, that whereas Swift had found the jewel, he 
had snpplied the setting— an argument in which there 
was some little wit, and would have been much excellent 
truth, had he given the words a belonging to Swift and 
not to himself. 

The novels of a man possessed of so singular a mind 
must themselves be very strange— and they are strange. 
It has generally been his object to write down some abuse 
with which he has been particularly struck — the harshness, 
for instance, with which paupers or .lunatics are treated, 


or the wickedness of certain classes — and he always, I 
think, leaves upon his readers an idea of great earnestness 
of purpose. But he has always left, at the same time, on 
my mind so strong a conviction that he has not really un- 
derstood his subject, that I have ever found myself taking 
the part of those whom he has accused. So good a heart, 
and so wrong a head, surely no novelist ever before had 
combined! In story-telling he has occasionally been al- 
most great. Among his novels I would especially recom- 
mend *' The Cloister and the Hearth." I do not know 
that in this work, or in any, that he has left a character 
that will remain: but he has written some of his scenes so 
brightly that to read them would always be a pleasure. 

Of Wilkie Collins it is impossible for a true critic not 
to speak with admiration, because he has excelled all his 
contemporaries in a certain most difficult branch of his 
art; but as it is a branch which I have not myself at. all 
cultivated, it is not unnatural^ that his work should be 
very much lost upon me individually. When I eit down 
to write a novel I do not at all know, and I do not very 
much care, how it is to end. Wilkie Collins seems so to 
construct his that he not only, before writing, plans every- 
thing on, down to the minutest detail, from the begin- 
ning to the end; but then plots it all back again, to see 
that there is no piece of necessary dovetailing which does 
not dovetail with absolute accuracy. The construction is 
most minute and most wonderful. But I can never lose 
the taste of the construction. The author seems always 
to be warning me to remember that something happened 
at exactly half-past two o'clock on Tuesday morning; or 
that a woman disappeared from the road just fifteen yards 
beyond the fourth mile-stone. One is constrained by 
mysteries and hemmed in by difficulties, knowing, how- 
ever, that the mysteries will be made clear, and the diffi- 
culties overcome, at the end of the third volume. Such 
work gives me no pleasure. I am, however, quite pre- 


pared to acknowledge that the want of pleasure comes 
from fault of my intellect. 

There are two ladies of whom T would fain say a word, 
though I feel that I am making my list too long, in order 
that I may declare how much I have admired their work. 
They are Anne Thackeray and Rhoda Broughton. I have 
known them both, and have loved the former almost as 
though she belonged to me. No two writers were ever 
more dissimilar, except in this that they are both feminine. 
Miss Thackeray^s characters are sweet, charming, and 
quite true to human nature. In her writing she is always 
endeavoring to prove that good produces good, and evil 
evil. There is not a line of which she need be ashamed, 
not a sentiment of which she should not be proud. But 
she writes like a lazy writer who dislikes her work, and who 
allows her own want of energy to show itself in her pages. 

Miss Broughton, on the other hand, is full of energy — 
though she, too, I think, can become tired over her work. 
She, however, does take the trouble to make her personages 
stand upright on the ground. And she has the gift of 
making them speak as men and women do speak. '* You 
beast!" said Nancy, sitting on the wall, to the man who 
was to be her husband — thinking that she was speaking to 
her brother. Now Nancy, whether right or wrong, was 
just the girl who would, as circumstances then were, have 
called her brother a beast. There is nothing wooden about 
any of Miss Broughton's novels — and in these days so many 
novels are wooden! But they are not sweet-savored as are 
those by Miss Thackeray, and are, therefore, less true to 
nature. In Miss Broughton's determination not to be 
mawkish and missish, she has made her ladies do and say 
things which ladies would not do and say. They throw 
themselves at men's heads, and when they are not accepted 
only think how they may throw themselves again. Miss 
Broughton is still so young that I hope she may live to 
overcome her fault in this direction. 


There is one other name, without which the list of tfie 
best-known English novelists of my own time would cer- 
tainly be incomplete, and that is the name of the present 
prime-minister of England. Mr. Disraeli has written so 
many novels, and has been so popular as a novelist that, 
wliether for good or for ill, I feel myself compelled to 
speak of him. He began his career as an author early in 
life, publishing ''Vivian Grey" when he was twenty- 
tliree years old. He was very young for such work, though 
hardly young enough to justify the excuse that he makes 
in his own preface, that it is a book written by a boy. 
Dickens was, I think, younger when he wrote, his 
'* Sketches by Boz," and as young when he was writing 
the ** Pickwick Papers." It was hardly longer ago than 
the other day when Mr. Disraeli brought out "Lothair," 
and between the two there were eight or ten others. To 
me they have all had the same flavor of paint and unreality. 
In whatever he has written he has affected something 
which has been intended to strike his readers as uncom- 
mon, and therefore grand. Because he has been bright 
and a man of genius, he has carried his object as regards 
the young. He has struck them with astonishment, and 
aroused in their imagination ideas of a world more glori- 
ous, more rich, more witty, more enterprising, than their 
own. But the glory has been the glory of pasteboard, and 
the wealth has been a wealth of tinsel. The wit has 
been the wit of hair-dressers, and the enterprise has been 
the enterprise of mountebanks. An audacious conjurer 
has generally been his hero — some youth who, by wonder- 
ful cleverness, can obtain success by every intrigue that 
comes to his hand. Through it all there is a feeling of 
stage properties, a smell of hair-oil, an aspect of buhl, a 
remembrance of tailors, and that pricking of the con- 
science which must be the general accompaniment of paste 
diamonds. I can understand that Mr. Disraeli should, by 
his novels, have instigated many a young man and many 


a young woman on their way in life, but I cannot under- 
stand that he should have instigated any one to good. 
Vivian Grey has had probably as many followers as Jack 
Sheppard, and has led his followers in the same direction. 
**Lothair," which is as yet Mr". Disraeli's last work, 
and, I think, undoubtedly his worst, has been defended 
on a plea somewhat similar to that by which he has de- 
feuded *' Vivian Grey." As that was written when he was 
too young, so was the other when he was too old — too old 
for work of that nature, though not too old to be prime- 
minister. If his mind were so occupied with greater 
things as to allow him to Write such a work, yet his judg- 
ment should have sufficed to induce him to destroy it when 
written. Here that flavor of hair-oil, that flavor of false 
jewels, that remembranxie of tailors, comes out stronger 
than in all the others. Lothair is falser even that Vivian 
Grey, and Lady Corysaud, the daughter of the duchess, 
more inane and unwomanlike than Venetia or Henrietta 
Temple. It is the very bathos of story- telling. I have 
often lamented, and have as often excused to myself, that 
lack of public judgment which enables readers to put up 
with bad work because it comes from good or from lofty 
hands. I never felt the feeling so strongly, or was so 
little able to excuse., it, as when a portion of the reading 
public received "Lothair" with satisfaction. 



Literary criticism in the present day has become a 
profession— but it has ceased to be an art. Its object is 
no longer that of proving that certain literary work is 
good, and other literary work is bad, in accordance with 
rules which the critic is able to define. English criticism 
at present rarely even pretends to go so far as this. It 
ttttempV in the first place, to tell the public whether a 


book be or be not worth public attention; and, in the 
second place, so to describe the purport of the work as to 
enable those who have not time or inclination for reading 
it to feel that by a short-cut they can become acquainted 
with its contents. Both these objects, if fairly well car- 
ried out, are salutary. Though the critic may not be a 
profound judge himself, though not unfrequently he be a 
young man making his first literary attempts, with tastes 
and judgment still unfixed, yet he probably has a con- 
science in the matter, and would not have been selected for 
that work had he not shown some aptitude for it. Though 
he may not be the best possible guide to the undiscerniug, 
he will be better than no guide at all. Eeal substantial 
criticism must, from its nature, be costly, and that which 
the public wants should, at any- rate, be cheap. Advice 
is given to many thousands, which, though it may not be 
the best advice possible, is better than no advice at all. 
Then that description of the work criticised, that com- 
pressing of the much into very little — which is the work 
of many modern critics or reviewers — does enable many to 
know something of what is being said, who without it 
would know nothing. 

I do not think it is incumbent on me at present to name 
periodicals in which this work is well done, and to make 
complaints of others by which it is scamped. I should 
give offense, and might probably be unjust. But I think 
I may certainly say that as some of these periodicals are 
certainly entitled to great praise for the manner in whicli 
the work is done generally, so are others open to very 
severe censure — and that the praise and that the censure 
are chiefly due on behalf of one virtue audits opposite 
vice. It is not critical ability that we have a right to de- 
mand, or its absence that we are bound to deplore. Crit- 
ical ability for the price we pay is not attainable. It is a 
faculty not peculiar to Englishmen, and when displayed 
is very frequently not appreciated. But that critics should 


be honest we have a right to demand, and critical dis- 
honesty we are bound to expose. If the writer will tell 
us what he thinks, though his thoughts be absolutely 
vague and useless, we can forgive him; but when he tells 
us what he does not think, actuated either by friendship 
or by animosity, then there should be no pardon for him. 
This is the sin in modern English criticism of which there 
is most reason to complain. 

It is a lamentable fact that men and women lend them- 
selves to this practice who are neither vindictive nor ordi- 
narily dishonest. It has become ** the custom of the trade," 
under the veil of which excuse so many tradesmen justify 
their malpractices. When a struggling author learns 
that so much has been done ^for A by the Barsetshire 
Gazette, so much for B by the Dillshorough Herald, and, < 
again, so much for by that powerful metropolitan organ 
the Evening Pulpit, and is told also that A and B and C 
have been favored through personal interest, he also goes to 
work among the editors, or the editors' wives— or, perhaps, 
if he cannot reach their wives, with their wives' first or 
second cousins. When once the feeling has come upon an 
editor or a critic that he may allow hiifiself to be influenced 
by other considerations than the duty he owes to the public, 
all sense of critical or of editorial honesty falls from him 
at once. Pacilis descensus A verni. In a very short time 
that editorial honesty becomes ridiculous to himself. It 
is for other purpose that he wields the power; and when 
he is told what is his duty, and what should be his con- 
duct, the preacher of such doctrine seems to him to be 
quixotic. " Where have you lived, my friend, for the last 
twenty years," he says in spirit, if not in word, '* that you 
come out now with such stuff as old-fashioned as this?" And 
thus dishonesty begets dishonesty, till dishonesty seems to 
be beautiful. How nice to be good-natured I How glo- 
rious to assist struggling young authors, especially if the 
young author be ftlso a pretty y^omml How gracious to 


oblige a friend! Then the motive, though still pleasing, 
departs further from the border of what is good. In what 
way can the critic better repay the hospitality • of his 
wealthy literary friend than by good-natured criticism, or 
more certainly insure for himself a conuinuation of hoBpi- 
table favors? 

Some years since a critic of the day, a gentleman well 
known then in literary circles, showed me the manuscript 
of a book recently published, the work of a popular author. 
It was handsomely bound, and was a valuable and desirable 
possession. If had just been given to him by the author, 
as an acknowledgment for a laudatory review in one of the 
leading journals of the day. As I was expressly asked 
whether I did not regard such a token as a sign of grace 
t)oth in the giver and in the receiver, I said that I thought 
it should neither have been given nor have been taken. 
My theory was repudiated with scorn, and I was told that 
I was strait-laced, visionary and impracticable! In all 
that the damage did not lie in the fact of that one present, 
but in the feeling on the part of the critic that his office 
was not debased by the acceptance of presents from those 
whom he criticised. This man was a professional critic, 
bound by his contract with certain employers to review 
such books as were sent to him. How could he^ when he 
had received a valuable present for praising one book, 
censure another by the same author? 

While I write this I well know that what I «ay, if it be 
ever noticed at all, will be taken as a straining at gnats, as 
a pretense of honesty, or, at any rate, as an exaggeration 
of scruples. I have said the same thing before, and have 
been ridiculed for saying it. But none the less am I sure 
that English literature generally is suffering much under 
this evil. All those who are struggling for success have 
forced upon them the idea that their strongest efforts 
should be made in touting for praise. Those who are not 
familiar with the lives of authors will hardly believe how 


low will be the forms which their struggles will take; how 
•little presents will be sent to men who write little articles; 
how much flattery may be expended, even on the. keeper 
of a circulating library; with what profuse and distant 
genuflexions approaches are make to the outside railing of 
the temple which contains within it the great thunderer 
of some metropolitan periodical publication! The evil 
here is not only that done to the public when interested 
counsel is given to them, but extends to the debasement of 
those who have, at any rate, considered themselves fit to 
provide literature for the public. 

I am satisfied that the remedy for this evil must lie in 
the conscience and deportment of authors themselves. If 
once the feeling could be produced that it is disgraceful 
for an author to ask for praise — and demands for praise 
are, I think, disgraceful in every walk of life — the prac- 
tice would gradually fall into the hands only of the lowest, 
and that which is done only by the lowest soi^n becomes 
despicable even to them. The sin, when perpetuated with 
unflagging labor, brings with it at best very poor reward. 
That work of running after critics, editors, publishers, the 
keepers of circulating libraries, and their clerks, is very 
hard, and must be very disagreeable. He who does it 
must feel himself to be dishonored — or she. It may, per- 
haps, help to sell an edition, but can never make an author 

I think it may be laid. down as a golden rule in literature 
that there should be no intercourse at all between an 
author and his critic. The critic, as critic, sliould not 
know his author, nor the author, as author, his critic. 
As censure should beget no anger, so should praise beget 
no gratitude. The young author should feel that criti- 
cisms fall upon him as dew or hail from heaven — which, 
as coming from heaven, man accepts as fate. Praise let 
the author try to obtain by wholesome efPort; censure let 
him avoid, if possible, by care and industry. But when 


they come, let him take them as coming from some source 
which he cannot influence, and with which he should not* 

I know no more disagreeable trouble into which an 
author may plunge himself than that of a quarrel with 
his critics, or any more useless labor than that of answer- 
ing them. It is wise to presume, at any rate, that the re- 
viewer has simply done his duty, and has spoken of the 
book according to the dictates of his conscience. Nothing 
can be gained by combating the reviewer's opinion. If the 
book which he has disparaged be good, his judgment will 
be condemned by the praise of others; if bad, his judgment 
will be confirmed by others. Or if, unfortunately, the criti- 
cism of the day be in so evil a condition generally that 
such ultimate truth cannot be expected, the author may 
be sure that his efforts made on behalf of his own book 
will not set matters right. If injustice be done him, let 
him bear i#. To do so is consonant with the dignity of 
the position which he ought to assume. To shriek, and 
scream, and sputter, to threaten actions, and to swear 
about the town that he has been belied and defamed in 
that he has been accused of bad grammar or a false meta- 
phor, of a dull chapter, or even of a borrowed heroine, 
will leave on the minds of the public nothing but a sense 
of irritated impotence. 

If, indeed, there should spring from an author's work 
any assertion by a critic injurious to the author's honor, 
if the author be accused of falsehood or of personal mo- 
tives which are discreditable to him, then, indeed, he may 
be bound to answer the charge. It is hoped, however, 
that he may be able to do so with clean hands, or he will 
so stir the mud in the pool as to come forth dirtier than 
he went into it. 

I have lived much among men by whom the English 
criticism of tlio day has been vehemently abused. I have 
heard it said that to the public it is a false guide, and that 


to authors it is never a trustworthy mentor, I do not 
concur .in this wholesale censure. There is, of course, 
criticism and criticism. There are at this moment one or 
two periodicals to which both public and authors may 
safely look for guidance, though there are many others from 
which no spark of literary advantage may be obtained. But 
it is well that both public and authors should know what 
is the advantage which they have a right to expect. There 
have been critics-^and there probably will be again, though 
the circumstances of English literature do not tend to pro- 
duce them — with power sufficient to entitle them to speak 
with authority. These great men have declared, tanquam 
ex cathedrdj that such a book has been so far good and so 
far bad, or that it has been altogether good or altogether 
bad; and the world has believed them. When making 
such assertions they have given their reasons, explained 
their causes, and have carried conviction. Very great 
reputations have been achieved by such critics, but not 
without infinite study and the labor of many years. 

Such are not the critics of the day, of whom we are now 
speaking. In the literary world as it lives at present some 
writer is selected for the plaoe of cdtic to a newspaper, 
generally some young writer, who for so many shillings a 
column shall review whatever book is sent to him and ex- 
press an opinion— reading the book through for the pur- 
pose, if the amount of honorarium as measured, with the 
amount of labor will enable him to do so. A laborer must 
measure his work by his pay or he cannot live. From 
criticism such as this must for the most part be, the gen- 
eral reader has no right to expect philosophical analysis, 
or literary judgment on which confidence may be placed. 
But he probably may believe that the books praised will 
be better than the books censured, and that those which 
are praised by periodicals which never censure are better 
worth his attention than those which are not noticed. 
And readers will also find that by devoting an hour or two 


on Saturday to the criticisms of the week, they will e....ble 
themselves to have an opinion about the books of the day. 
The knowledge so acquired will not be great, nor will that 
little be lasting; but it adds something to the pleasure of 
life to be able to talk </n subjects of which others are 
speaking; and the man who has sedulously gone through 
the literary notices in the Spectator and the Saturday may 
perhaps be justified in thinking himself as well able to 
talk about the new book as his friend who has brought 
that new book on the tapis j and who, not improbably, ob- 
tained his information from the same source. 

Aa an autlior, I have paid careful attention to the re- 
views which have been written on my own work; and I 
think that now I well know where I may look for a little 
instruction, where I may expect only greasy adulation, 
where I shall be cut up into mince-meat for the delight of 
those who love sharp invective, and where I shall find an 
equal mixture of praise and censure so adjusted, without 
much judgment, as to exhibit the impartiality of the news- 
paper and its staff. Among it all there is much chaff, 
which I have learned how to throw to the winds, with 
equal disregard whether it praises or blames; but I have 
also found some corn, on which I have fed and nourished 
myself, and for which I have been thankful. 



I WILL now go back to the year 1867, in which I was 
Btill living at Waltham Cross. I hjid some time sinc^ 
bought tlie house there which I had at first hired, ai^ 
added rooms to it, and made it for our purposes very com- 
fortable. It was, however, a rickety old place, requiring 
much repair, and occasionally not as weather-tight as it 
ehould be. We had a domain there sufficient for the cows, 


and for t\^e making of our butter and bay. For straw- 
berries, asparagus, green pease, out-of-door peaches — for 
roses especially — ^and such everyday luxuries, no place was 
ever more excellent. It was only twelve miles from Lon- 
don, and admitted, therefore, of frequent intercourse with 
the metropolis. It was also near enough to the Roothing 
country for hunting purposes. No doubt the Shoreditch 
Station, by which it had to be reached, had its drawbacks. 
My average distance, also, to the Essex meets was twenty 
miles; but the place combined as much or more than I had 
a right to expect. It was within my own postal district, 
and had, upon the whole, been well chosen. 

The work I did during the twelve years that I remained 
there — from 1859 to 1871 — was certainly very great. I 
feel confident that in amount no other writer contributed 
so much during that time to English literature. Over and 
above my novels, I wrote political articles, critical, social, 
and sporting articles, for periodicals, without number. I 
did the work of a surveyor of the General Post-office, and 
so did it as to give the authorities of the department no 
slightest pretext for fault-finding. I hunted always at 
least twice a week. I was frequent in* the whist- room at 
the Garrick. I lived much in society in London, and was 
made happy by the presence of many friends at Waltham 
Cross. In addition to this we always spent six weeks, at 
least, out of England. Eew men, I think, ever lived a 
fuller life; and I attribute the power of doing this alto- 
gether to the virtue of early hours. It was my practice to 
be at my table every morning at 5.30; and it was also my 
practice to allow myself no mercy. An old groom, whose 
business it v/as to call me, and to whom I paid £5 a year 
extra for the duty, allowed himself no mercy. During 
all those years at Waltham Cross ho was never once late 
with the coffee which it was his duty to bring me. I do 
not know that I ought not to feel that I owe more to him 
than to an^ one else for the success I-haverhad. By be- 


ginning at that hour I could complete my literary work 
before I dressed for breakfast. 

All those, I think, who have lived as literary men- 
working daily as literary laborers— will agree with me that 
three hours a day will produce as much as a man ought to 
write. But then he should so have trained himself that 
he shall be able to work continuously during those three 
hours— so have tutored his mind that it shall not be neces- 
sary for him to sit nibbling his pen, and gazing at the 
wall before him, till he shall have found the words with 
which he wants to express his ideas. It iiad at this time 
become my custom — and it still is my custom, though of 
late I have become a little lenient to myself — to write with 
my watch before me, and to require from myself 250 words 
every quarter of an hour. I have found that the 250 words 
have been forthcoming as regularly as my watch went. 
Bnt my three hours were not devoted entirely to 
writing. I always began my task by reading the work of 
the day before, an operation which would take me half an 
hour, and which consisted chiefly in weighing with my 
ear the sound of the words and phrases. I would strongly 
recommend this practice to all tyros in writing. That 
their work should be read after it has been written is a 
matter of course; that it should be i*ead twice, at least, be- 
fore it goes, to the printers, I take to be a matter of course. 
But by reading what he has last written, before he recom- 
mences his task, the writer will catch the tone and spirit of 
what he is then saying, and will avoid the fault of seeming 
to be unlike himself. This division of time allowed me to 
produce over ten pages of an ordinary novel volume a day, 
and if kept up through ten months, would have given as 
its results three novels of three volumes each in the year — 
the precise amount which so greatly acerbated the pub- 
lisher in Paternoster Row, and wliich must, at anj rate, 
be felt to be quite as much as tlie novel-readers of the 
world can want from the hands of one man. 


I have never written three novel? in a year; but by 
following the plan above described I have written more 
than as much as three volumes; and by adhering to it over 
a course" of years I have been enabled to have always on 
liand — for 3ome time back now — one or two, or even three, 
unpublished novels in my desk beside me. Were I to 
die now, there are three such besides " The Prime Minis- 
ter," half of which has only yet been issued. One of these 
lias been six years 6nished, and has never seen the light 
since it was first tied up in the wrapper which now con- 
tains it. I look forward with some grim pleasantry to its 
publication after anotiier period of six years, and to the 
declaration of the critics that it has been the work of a 
period of life at which the power of writing novels had 
passed from me. Not improbably, however, these pages 
may be printed first. 

In 1866 and 1867 '' The Last Chronicle of Barset " was 
brought out by George Smith, in sixpenny monthly num- 
bers. I do not know that this mode of publication had 
been tried before, or that it answered very well on this 
occasion. Indeed, the shilling magazines had interfered 
greatly with the success of novels published in numbers 
without other accompanying matter. The public, finding 
that so much might be had for a shilling, in which a portion 
of one or more novels was always included, were unwilling 
to spend their money on the novel alone. Feeling that 
this certainly had become the case in reference to novels 
published in shilling numbers, Mr. Smith and I deter- 
mined to make the experiment with sixpenny parts. 
As he paid me £3000 for the use of my manuscript, the 
loss, if any, did not fall upon me/ If I remember right, 
the enterprise ^^as not altogether v»ccessful. 

Taking it as a whole, I regard this as the best novel I 
have written. I was never quite satisfied with the devel- 
opment of the plot, which consisted in the loss of a check, 
of a oharge made against/a clergyman for stealing it, and 


of absolute uncertainty on the part of the clergyman 
himself as to the manner in which the check had found 
its way into his hands. I cannot quite make myself be- 
lieve tifat even such a man as Mr. Crawley couM have 
forgotten how he got it; nor would the generous friend 
who was anxious to supply his wants have supplied them 
by tendering the check of a third person. Such fault I 
acknowledge — acknowledging, at the same time, that I 
have never been capable of constructing with complete 
success the intricacies of a plot that required to be unrav- 
eled. But while confessing so much, I claim to have 
portrayed the mind of the unfortunate man with great 
accuracy and greater delicacy. The pride, the humility, 
the manliness, the weakness, the conscientious rectitude 
and bitter prejudices of Mr. Crawley were, I feel, true to 
nature and well described. The surroundings, too, are 

Mrs. Proudie, at the palace, is a real woman; and 
the poor old dean dying at the deanery is also real. The 
archdeacon, in his victory, is very real. There is a true 
savor of English country life all through the book. It 
was with many misgivings that I killed my old friend 
Mrs. Proudie. I could not, I think, have done it, but for 
a resolution taken and declared under circumstances of 
great momentary pressure. 

It was thus that it came about. I was sitting one morn- 
ing at work upon the novel, at the end of the long drawing- 
room of the Athenaeum Club— as was then my wont when 
I had slept the previous night in London. As I was there, 
two clergymen, each with a magazine in his hand, seated 
themselves— one on one side of the fire, and one on the 
other— close to me. They soon began to abuse what they 
were reading, and each was reading some part of some 
novel of mine. The gravamen of their complaint lay in 
the fact that I reintroduced the same characters so often. 
** Here," said one, ** is that archdeacon whom we have 


had in every novel he has ever written." *' And here," said 
the other, " is the old duke whom he has talked about till 
everybody is tired of him. If 1 could not invent new 
characters, I would not write novels at all." Then one of 
them fell foul of Mrs. Proudie. It was impossible for me 
not to hear their words, and almost impossible to hear 
them and be quiet. I got up, and standing between them, 
I acknowledged myself to be the culprit. " As to Mrs. 
Proudie, " I said, " I will go home and kill her before th« 
week is over." And so I did. The two gentlemen wore 
utterly confounded, and one of them begged me to forget 
his frivolous observations. 

I have sometimes regretted the deed, so great was my 
delight in writing about Mrs. Proudie, so thorough was 
my knowledge of all the little shades of her character. It 
was not only that she was a tyrant, a bully, a would-be 
priestess, a very vulgar woman, and one who would send 
headlong to the nethermost pit all who disagreed with her; 
but that at the same time she was conscientious, by no 
means a hypocrite, really believing in the brimstone which 
she threatened, and anxious to save the souls around her 
from its horrors. And as lier tyranny increased, so did the 
bitterness of the moments of her repentance increase, in 
that she knew herself to be a tyrant — till that bitterness 
killed her. Since her time, others have grown up equally 
dear to me — Lady Glencora and her husband, for instance; 
but I have never dissevered myself from Mrs. Proudie, 
and still live much in company with her ghost. 

I have in a previous chapter said how I wrote '* Can 
You Forgive Her?" after the plot of a play which had 
been rejected, which play had been called '*The Noble 
Jilt." Some year or two after the completion of "The 
Last Chronicle," I was asked by the manager ot a theater 
to prepare a piece for his stage, and I did so, taking the 
plot of this novel. I called the comedy ** Did He Steal 
ItP" But my friend the manager did not approve of my 


attempt. My mind, at this time, was less attentive to 
such a matter tlian when dear old George Bartley nearly 
crushed me by his criticism, so that I forget the reason 
given. I have little doubt but that the manager was 
right. That he intended to express a true opinion, and 
would have been glad to have taken the piece, had he 
thought it suitable, I am quite sure. 

I have sometimes wished to see, during my lifetime, a 
combined republication of those tales which are occupied 
with the fictitious county of Barsetshire. Tliese would be 
** The Warden," " Barchester Towers," " Doctor Thorne," 
"Framley Parsonage," and *'The Last Chronicle of Bar- 
set." But I have hitherto failed. The copyrights are in 
the hands of four different persons, including myself, and 
with one of the four I have not been able to prevail to act 
in concert with the others.* 

In 1867 I made up my mind to take a step in life which 
was not unattended with peril, which many would call 
rash, and which, when taken, I should be sure at some 
period to regret. This step was the resignation of my 
place in the Post-oflBce. I have described how it was that 
I contrived to combine the performance of its duties with 
my other avocations in life. I got up always very early; 
but even this did not suffice. I worked always on Sun- 
days — as to jrhich no scruple of religion made me unhappy 
— and not unfrequently 1 was driven to work at night. 
In the winter, when hunting was going on, I had to keep 
myself very much on the alert. And during the London 
season, when I was generally two or three days of the week 
in town, I found the official work to be a burden. I had 
determined some years previously, after due consideration 
with my wife, to abandon the. Post-office when I had put 
by an income equal to the pension to which I should be 

♦ Since this was written I have made arrangements for doing as I 
have wished, and the first volume of the series will now very shortly 
be published. 


entitled if I remained in the department till I was sixty. 
That I had now done, and I sighed for liberty. 

The exact ^time chosen, the autumn of 1867, was se- 
lected because I was then about to undertake other lit- 
erary work in editing a new magazine, of which I shall 
speak very shortly. But in addition to these reasons there 
was another, which was, I think, at last the actuating 
cause. When Sir Rowland Hill left the Post-office, and 
my brother-in-law, Mr. Tilley, became secretary in his 
place, I applied for the vacant office of under-secretary. 
Had I obtained this I should have given up my hunting, 
have given up much of my literary work — at any rate, 
would have edited no magazine — and would have returned 
to the habit of my youth in going daily to the General 
Post-office. There was very much against such a change 
in life. The increase of salary would not have amounted 
to above £400 a year, and I should have lost much more 
than that in literary remuneration. I should have felt 
bitterly the slavery of attendance at an office from which 
I had then been exempt for five-and-twenty years. I 
should, too, have greatly missed the sport which I loved. 
But I was attached to the department, had imbiled my- 
self with a thorough love of letters — I mean, the letters 
which are carried by the post — and was anxious for their 
welfare as though they were all my own. In short, I 
wished to continue the connection. I did not wish, more- 
over, that any younger officer should again pass over my 
head. I believed that I had been a valuable public servant, 
and I will own to a feeling existing at that time that I 
had not altogether been well treated. I was probably 
wrong in this. I had been allowed to hunt, and to do as 
I pleased,' and to say what I liked, and had in that way 
received my reward. I applied for the office, but Mr. 
Scudamore was appointed to it. He, no doubt, was pos- 
aesfled of gifts which I did not possess. He understood 
the manipulation of money and the use of figures, and waa 


a great accountant. I think that I might have been more 
useful in regard to the labors and wages of the immense 
body of men employed by the Post-oflSce. However, Mr. 
Scudamore was appointed; and I made up my mind that 
I would fall back upon my old intention, and leave the 
department. I think I allowed two years to pass before I 
took the step; and the day on which I sent the letter was 
to me most melancholy. 

The rule of the service in regard to pensions is very just. 
A man shall serve till he is sixty before he is entitled to a 
pension, unless his health fail him. At that age he is en- 
titled to one sixtieth of his salary for every year he has 
served up to forty years. If his health do fail him so that 
he is unfit for further work before the age named, then he 
may go with a pension amounting to one sixtietli for every 
year he has served. I could not say that my heakh had 
failed me, and therefore I went without any pension. I have 
since felt, occasionally, that it has been supposed that I 
left the Post-office under pressure, because I attended to 
hunting and to my literary work rather than to postal 
matters. As it had for many years been my ambition to 
be a thoroughly good servant to the public, and to give to 
the public much more than I took in the shape of salary, 
this feeling has sometimes annoyed me. And as I am still 
a little sore on the subject, and as I would not have it im- 
agined after my death that I had slighted the public service 
to which I belonged, I will venture here to give the reply 
which was sent to the letter containing my resignation. 

General Post-oppice, October 9. 1867. 

'*SiR, — I have received your letter of the 3d inst., in 
whicli you tender your resignation as Surveyor in the Post- 
offico service, and state as your reason for this step that 
you have adopted another profession, the exigencies of 
which are so great as to make you feel you cannot give to 
the duties of the Post-office that amount of attention which 
you consider the Postmaster-general has a right to expect. 

'* You have for many years ranked among the most con- 


spicuous members of the Post-office, which, on several 
occasions, when you have been employed on large and diffi- 
cult matters, has reaped much benefit from the great abil- 
ities which you have been able to place at its disposal; 
and in mentioning this, I have been especially glad to re- 
cord that, notwithstanding the many calls upon your time, 
you have never permitted your other avocations to inter- 
fere with your Post-office work, which has been faithfully, 
and, indeed, energetically perfomed." (There was a touch 
of irony in this word '* energetically," but still it did not 
displease me.) 

" In accepting your resignation, which he does with 
much regret, the Duke of Montrose desires me to convey 
to you his own sense of the value of your services, and to 
state how alive he is to the loss which will be sustained by 
the department in which you have long been an ornament, 
and where your place will with difficulty be replaced. 

(Signed) *' J. Tilley." 

Readers will, no doubt, think that this is official flum- 
mery; and so, in fact, it is. I do not at all imagine that 
I was an ornament to the Post-office, and have no doubt 
that the secretaries and assistant- secretaries very often 
would have been glad to be rid of me; but the letter may 
be taken as evidence that I did not allow my literary 
enterprises to interfere with my official work. A man 
who takes public money without earning it is to me so 
odious that I can find no pardon for him in my heart. I 
have known many such, and some who have craved the 
power to do so. Nothing would annoy me more than to 
'think that I should even4)e supposed to have been among 
the number. 

And so my connection was dissolved with the depart- 
ment to which I had applied the thirty-throe best years 
of my life — I must not say devoted, for devotion im- 
plies an entire surrender, and I certainly had found time 
for other occupations. It is, however, absolutely tnle 
that during all those years I had thought very much 
more about the Post-office than I had of my literary 


work, and had given to it a more unflagging attention. 
Up to this time I had never been angry, never felt my- 
self injured or unappreciated in that my literary efforts 
were slighted. But I had suffered very much bitterness 
on that score in, reference to the Post-oflSce; and I had 
suffered not only on my own personal behalf, but also 
and more bitterly when I could not promise to be done 
the things which I thought ought to be done for the 
benefit of others. That the public in little villages should 
be enabled to buy postage-stamps; that they should have 
their letters delivered free and at an early hour; that pillar 
letter-boxes should be put up for them (of which accom- 
modation in the streets and ways of England I was the 
originator, having, however, got the authority for the 
erection or the first at St. Heliers, in Jersey); that the 
letter-carriers and sorters should not be overworked; that 
they should be adequately paid, and have some hours to 
themselves, especially on Sundays; above all, that they 
should be made to earn their wages; and, latterly, that 
they should not be crushed by what I thought to be the 
damnable system of so-called merit — these were the mat- 
ters by which I was stirred to what the secretary was 
pleased to call energetic performance of my duties. How 
I loved, when I was contradicted— as I was very often and, 
no doubt, very properly — to do instantly as 1 was bid, 
and then to prove that what I was doing was fatuous, 
dishonest, expensive, and impracticable! And then there 
were feuds — such delicious feuds4 I was always an anti- 
Hillite, acknowledging, indeed, the great thing which 
Sir Rowland Hill had done for the country, but believing 
him to be entii«ely unfit to manage men or to arrange labor. 
It was a pleasure to me to differ from him on all occasions 
—and looking back now, I think that in all such differences 
I was right. 

Having so steeped myself, as it were^ in postal waters, I 
could not go out from them without regret. I wonder 


wliether I did anything to improve the style of writing in 
oflBcial reports! I strove to do so gallantly, never being 
contented with the language of myawn reports unless it 
seemed to have been so written as to be pleasant to be 
read. I took extreme delight in writing them, not allow- 
ing myself to re-copy them, never having them re-copied 
by others, but sending them up with their original blots 
and erasures — if blots and erasures there were. It is 
liardly manly, I think, that a man should search after a 
fine neatness at the expense of so much waste labor; or 
that he should not be able to exact from himself the ne- 
cessity of writing words in the form in which they should 
be read. If a copy be required, let it be taken afterward 
— by hand or by machine, as may be. But the writer of 
a letter, if he wish his words to prevail with the reader, 
should send them out as written by himself, by his own 
hand, with his own marks, his own punctuation, correct 
or incorrect, with the evidence upon them that they have 
come out from his own mind. 

And so the cord was cut, and I was a free man to run 
about the world where I would. 

A little before the date of my resignation, Mr. James 
Virtue, the printer and publisher, had asked me to edit a 
new magazine for him, and had offered me a salary of 
£1000 a year for the work, over and above what might be 
due to me for my own contributions. I had known some- 
thing of magazines, and did not believe that they were 
generally very lucrative. They were, I thought, useful to 
some publishers as bringing grist to the mill; but as Mr. 
Virtue's business was chiefly that of a printer, in which 
lie was very successful, this consideration could hardly 
liave had much weight with him. I very strongly advised 
him to abandon the project, pointing out to him that a 
largo expenditure would be necessary to carry on the 
magazine in accordance with my views — that I could not 
be coDcerned iu it on any other understanding, and that 


the chances of an adequate return to him of his money 
were very small. He came down to Waltham, listened to 
my arguments with great patience, and then told me that 
if I wonld not do the work he would find some other editor. 

Upon this I consented to undertake the duty. My 
terms as to salary were those which he had himself pro- 
posed. The special stipulations which I demanded were: 
firstly, that I should put whatever I pleased into the maga- 
zine, or keep whatever I pleased out of it, without inter- 
ference; secondly, that I should from month to month 
give in to him a list of payments to be made to contribu- 
tors, and that he should pay them, allowing me to fix the 
amounts; and, thirdly, that the arrangement should 
remain in force, at any rate, for two years. To all this 
he made no objection; and during the time that he and I 
were thus bound together, he not only complied with these 
stipulations, but also with every suggestion respecting the 
magazine that I made to liim. If the use of large capital, 
combined with wide liberality and absolute confidence on 
the part of tiie proprietor, and perpetual good-humor, 
would have produced success, our magazine certainly 
would have succeeded. 

In all such enterprises the name is the first great diffi- 
culty. There is the name which has a meaning and the 
name which has none — of which two the name that has 
none is certainly the better, as it never belies itself. The 
Liberal may cease to be liberal, or The Fortnightly, alas! 
to come out once a fortnight. But The CornUll and 77 e 
Argosy are under any set of circumstances as well adapted 
to these names as under any other. Tlien there is "xhp 
proprietary name, or possibly the editorial name, which is 
only amiss because the publication may change hands. 
Blackwood's has, indeed, always remained BlacJcwooiVs, 
and Eraser's, though it has been bought and sold, still 
does not sound amiss. Mr. Virtue, fearing the too at- 
tractive qualities of his own name, wished the magazine to 


be called Anthony Trollope's. But to this I objected 
eagerly* There were then about the town — still are about 
the town — two or three IHerary gentlemen by whom to 
have had myself editored would have driven me an exile 
from my country. After much discussion we settled on 
St. PauVs as the name for our bantling — not as being in 
any way new, but as enabling it to fall easily into the 
ranks with many others. If we were to make ourselves 
in any way peculiar, it was not by our name that we were 
desirous of doing so. 

I do not think that we did make ourselves in any way 
peculiar — and yet there was a great struggle made. On 
the part of the proprietor, I may say that money was 
spent very freely. On my own part, I may declare that 
I omitted nothing which I thought might tend to suc- 
cess. I read all manuscripts sent to me, and endeavored 
to judge impartially. I succeeded in obtaining the serv- 
ices of an excellent literary corps. During the three 
years and a half of my editorship I was assisted by Mr. 
Goschen, Captain Brackenbury, Edward Dicey, Percy 
Fitzgerald, H. A. Layard, AUingham, Leslie Stephen, 
Mrs. Lynn Linton, my brother, T. A. Trollope, and his 
wife, Charles Lever, Bi Arnold, Austin Dobson, R. A. 
Proctor, Lady Pollock, G. H. Lewes, C. Mackay, Hard- 
man (of the Times), George Macdonald, W. R. Greg, 
Mrs. Oliphanb, Sir Charles Trevelyan, Leoni Levi, Dut- 
ton Cook — and others, whose names would make the list 
too long. It might have been thought that with such 
aid the St» PauVs would have succeeded. I do not think 
tilat the failure — for it did fail— arose from bad editing. 
Perhaps too much editing, might have been the fault. I 
was too anxious to be^good, and did not enough think of 
what might be lucrative. . 

It did fail, for it never paid its way. It reached, if I 
remember right, a circulation of nearly ten thousand — 
perhaps on one or two occasions may have gone beyond 


that. But the enterprise had been set on foot on a system 
too expensive to be made lucrative by anything short of a 
very large circulation. Literary merit will hardly set a 
magazine afloat, though when afloat it will sustain it. 
Time is wanted — or the hubbub, and flurry, and excite- 
ment created by ubiquitous sesquipedalian advertisement. 
Merit and time together may be effective, but they must 
be backed by economy and patience. 

I think, upon the whole, that publishers themselves 
have been the best editors of magazines, when they have 
been able to give time and intelligence to the work. Noth- 
ing, certainly, has ever been done better than Blackwood's, 
The Cornhill, too, after Thackeray had left it and before 
Leslie Stephen had taken it, seemed to be in quite efficient 
hands — those hands being the hands of proprietor and 
publisher. The proprietor, at any rate, knows what he 
wants and what he can afford, and is not so frequently 
tempted to fall into that worst of literary quicksands, the 
publishing of matter not, for the sake of the readers, but 
for that of the writer. I did not so sin very often, but 
often enough to feel that I was a coward. ''My dear 
friend, my dear friend, this is trash!" It is so hard to 
speak thus — but so necessary for an editor! We all re- 
member the thorn in his pillow of which Thackeray com- 
plained. Occasionally I know that I did give way on 
behalf of some literary aspirant whose work did not rep- 
resent itself to me as being good; and as often as I did 
so, I broke my trust so those \fho employed me. Now, I 
think that such editors as Thackeray and myself — if I may 
for the moment be allowed to couple men so unequal — will 
always be liable to commit such faults, but that the nat- 
ures of publishers and proprietors will be less soft. 

Nor do I know why the pages of a magazine should be 
considered to be open to any aspirant who thinks that he 
can ^rite an article, or why the manager of a magazine 
should be doomed to read all that may be sent to 'him. 


The object of the proprietor is to produce a periodical that 
shall satisfy the public, which he may probably best do by, 
securing the services of writers of acknowledged ability.— 



Very early in life, very soon after j. nad become a clerk 
in St. Martin's-le-Grand, when I was utterly impecunious 
and beginning to fall grievously into debt, I was asked by 
an uncle of mine, who was himself a clerk in the War 
OflBce, what destination I should like best for my future 
life. He probably meant to inquire whether I wished to 
live married or single, whether to remain in the Post-office 
or to leave it, whether I should prefer the town or the 
country. I replied that I should like to be a Member of 
Parliament. My uncle, who was given to sarcasm, re- 
joined that, as far as he knew, few clerks in the Post-oflBce 
did become Members of Parliament. I think it was the 
remembrance of this jeer which stirred me up to look for 
a seat as soon as I had made myself capable of holding one 
by leaving the public service. My uncle was dead, but if 
I could get a seat, the knowleilge that I had done so might 
travel to that bourne from whence he was not likely to 
return, and he might there feel that he had done me 

Independently of this, I have always thought that to 
3it in the British Parliament should be the highest object 
of ambition to every educated Englishman. I do not by 
this mean to suggest that every educated Englishman 
should set before himself a seat in parliament as a prob- 
able or even a possible career; but tliat the man in parlia- 
ment has reached a higher position than the man out— 
that to serve one's country without pay is the grandest 
work that a man can do— that of all studies the study of 


politics is the one in which a man may make himself most 
useful to his fellow-creatures — and that of all lives, public 
political lives are capable of the highest efforts. So think- 
ing — though I was aware that fifty-three was too late an 
age at which to commence a new career — I resolved with 
much hesitation that I would make the attempt. 

Writing now, at an age beyond sixty, I can say that my 
political feelings and convictions have never undergone 
any change. They are now what they became when I 
first began to have political feelings and convictions. Nor 
do I find in myself any tendency to modify them, as I have 
found generally in men as they grow old. I consider my- 
self to be an advanced, but still a conservative, Liberal, 
which I regard not only as a possible but as a rational and 
consistent phase of political existence. T can, I believe, 
in a very few words, make known my political theory; and 
as I am anxious that any who know aught of me should 
know that, I will endeavor to do so. 

It must, I think, be painful to all men to feel inferi- 
ority. It should, I think, be a matter of some pain to all 
men to feel superiority, unless when it has been won by 
their own efforts. We do not understand the operations 
of Almighty wisdom, and are therefore unable to tell the 
causes of the terrible inequalities that we see — why some, 
why so many, should have so little to make life enjoyable, 
so much to make it painful, while a few others, not 
through their own merit, have had gifts poured out to 
them from a full hand. We acknowledge the hand of 
God and his wisdom, but still we are struck with awe and 
horror at the misery of many of our brethren. We who 
have been born to the superior condition — for in this mat- 
ter I consider myself to be standing on a platform with 
dukes and princes, and all others to whom plenty and 
education and liberty have been given — cannot, I think, 
look upon the inane, unintellectual, and tost-bound life of 
those who cannot even feed themselves suflaciently by their 


sweat, without some feeling of injustice, some feeling of 

This consciousness of wrong has induced in many en- 
thusiastic but unbalanced minds a desire to set all things 
right by a proclaimed equality. In their efforts such men 
have shown how powerless they are in opposing the ordi- 
nances of the Creator. For the mind of the thinker and 
the student is driven to admit, though it be awe-struck by 
apparent injustice, that this inequality is the work of God. 
Make all men equal to-day, and God has so created them 
that they shall be all unequal to-morrow. The so-called 
Conservative, the conscientious, philanthropic Conserva- 
tive, seeing this, and being surely convinced that such 
inequalities are of divine origin, tells himself that it is his 
duty to preserve them. He thinks that the preservation 
of the welfare of the world depends on the maintenance of 
those distances between the prince and the peasant by 
which he finds himself to be suri-ounded; and perhaps I 
may add, that the duty is not unpleasant, as he feels him- 
self to be one of the princes. 

Bat this man, though he sees something, and sees that 
very clearly, sees only a little. The divine inequality is 
apparent to him, but not the equally divine diminution 
of that inequality. That such diminution is taking place 
on all sides is apparent enough; but it is apparent to him 
as an evil, the consummation of which it is his duty to re- 

He cannot prevent it; and therefore the society to 
which he belongs is, in his eyes, retrograding. He will 
even, at times, assist it; and will do so conscientiously, 
feeling that, under the gentle pressure supplied by him, 
and with the drags and holdfasts which he may add, the 
movement would be slower than it would become if sub- 
jected to his proclaimed and absolute opponents. Such, 
I think, are Conservatives; and I speak of men who, with 
the fear of God before their eyes and the love of their neigh- 


bors warm in their hearts, endeavor to do their dutj to 
the best of their ability. 

Using the term which is now common, and which will 
be best understood, I will endeavor to explain how the 
equally conscientious Liberal is opposed to the Conserva- 
tive. He is equally aware that these distances are of 
divine origin, equally averse to any sudden disruption of 
society in quest of some Utopian blessedness; but he is 
alive to the fact that these distances are day by day be- 
coming less, and he regards this continual diminution as 
a series of steps toward that human millennium of which 
he dreams. He is even willing to help the many to ascend 
the ladder a little, though he knows, as they come up to- 
ward him, he must go down to meet them. What is 
really in his mind is — I will not say equality, for the word 
is offensive, and presents to the imaginations of men ideas 
of communism, of ruin, and insane democracy, but — a 
tendency toward equality. In following that, lK)wever, 
he knows that he must be hemmed in by safeguards, lest 
he be tempted to travel too quickly, and therefore he is 
glad to be accompanied on his way by the repressive ac- 
tion of a Conservative opponent. Holding such views, I 
think I am guilty of no absurdity in calling myself an 
advanced Conservative-Liberal. A man who entertains 
in his mind any political doctrine, except as a means of 
improving the condition of his fellows, I regard as a polit- 
ical intriguer, a charlatan, and a conjurer — as one who 
thinks that, by a certain amount of wary wire-pulling, he 
may raise himself in the estimation of the world. 

I am aware that this theory of politics will seem to many 
to be stilted, overstrained, and, as the Americans would 
Bay, high-faluten. Many will declare that the majority 
even of those who call themselves politicians — perhaps 
even of those who take an active part in politics — are 
stirred by no such feelings as these, and acknowledge no 
such motives. Men become Tories or Whigs, Liberals or 


Conservatives, partly by education— following their fathers 
— partly by chance, partly as openings come, partly in ac- 
cordance with the bent of their minds, but still without 
any far-fetched reasonings as to distances and the diminu- 
tion of distances. No doubt it is so; and in the battle of 
politics, as it goes, men are led further and further away 
from first causes, till at last a measure is opposed by one 
simply because it is advocated by another, and Members 
of Parliament swarm into lobbies, following the dictation 
of their leaders, and not their own individual judgments. 
But the principle is at work throughout. To many, 
though hardly acknowledged, it is still apparent. On 
almost all it has its effect; though there are the intriguers, 
the clever conjurers, to whom politics is simply such a 
game as is billiards or rackets, only played with greater 
results. To the minds that create and lead and sway 
political opinion, some such theory is, I think, ever present. 
The truth of all this I had long since taken home to 
myself. I had now been tjiinking of it for thirty years, 
and had never doubted. But I had always been aware of 
a certain visionary weakness about myself m regard to 
politics. A man, to be useful in Parl'ament, must be able 
to confine himself and conform himself, to be satisfied 
with doing a little bit of a little thing at a time. He 
must patiently o-et up everything connected with the duty 
on mushrooms, and then be satisfied with himself when at 
last he has induced a Chancellor of the Exchequer to say 
that he will consider the impost at the first opportunity. 
He must be content to be beaten six times in order that, 
on a seventh, his work may be found to be of assistance 
to some one else. He must remember that he is one out 
of 650, and be content with l-650th part of the attention 
of the nation. If he have grand ideas, he must keep them 
to himself, unless by chance he can work his way up to 
the top of the tree. In short, he must be a practical jnan. 
Now I knew that in politics I could never become a prac- 


ticcal man. I should never be satisfied with a soft word 
from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but would always 
be flinging my over-taxed catchup in his face. 

Nor did it seem to me to be possible tliat I should ever 
become a good sneaker. I had no special gifts that way, 
and had not studied the art early enough in life to over- 
come natural difiSculties. I had found that, with infinite 
labor, I could learn a few sentences by heart, and deliver 
them, monotonously, indeed, but clearly. Or, again, if 
there were something special to be said, I could say it in 
a commonplace fashion, but always as though I were in a 
hurry, and with the fear before me of being thought to be 
prolix. But I had no power of combining, as a public 
speaker should always do, that which I had studied with 
that which occurred to me at this moment. It must be 
all lesson, which I found to be best; or else all impromptu, 
which was very bad indeed, unless I had something special 
on my mind. I was thus aware that I could do no good 
by going into parliament; that the time for it, if there 
could have been a time, had gone by. But still I had an 
almost insane desire to sit tliere, and be able to assure 
myself that my uncle's scorn had not been deserved. 

In 18G7 it had been suggested to me that, in the event 
of a dissolution, I should stand for one division of the 
County of Essex; and I had promised that I would do so, 
though the promise at that time was as rash a one as a 
man could make. I was instigated to this by the late 
Charles Buxton, a man whom I greatly loved, and who 
was verv anxious that the county for which his brother sat, 
and with which the family were connected, should be 
relieved from what he regarded as the thralldom of Tory- 
ism. But there was no dissolution then. Mr. Disraeli 
passed his Reform Bill, by the help of the Liberal member 
for Newark, and the summoning of a new parliament was 
postponed till the next year. By this new Reform Bill 
Essex was portioned out into three instead of two electoral 


divisions, one of which — that adjacent to London — would, 
it was thought, be altogether Liberal. After the promise 
which I had given, the performance of which would have 
cost me a large sum of money absolutely in vain, it was 
felt by some that I should be selected as one of the candi- 
dates for the new division, and as such I was proposed by 
Mr. Charles Buxton. But another gentleman, who would 
have been bound by previous pledges to support me, was 
put forward, by what I believe to have been the defeating 
interest, and I had to give way. At the election tliis 
gentleman, with another Liberal, who had often stood for 
the county, were returned without a contest. Alas! alas! 
They were both unseated at the next election, when the 
great Conservative reaction took place. 

In the spring of 1868 I was sent lo the United States on 
a postal mission, of which I will speak presently. While 
I was absent the dissolution took place. On my return I 
was somewhat too late to look out for a sent, but I had 
friends who knew the weakness of my ambition; and it was 
not likely, therefore, that I should escape the peril of 
being put forward for some impossible borough as to which 
the Liberal party would not choose that it should go to the 
Conservatives without a struggle. At last after one or 
two others, Beverley was proposed to me, and to Beverley 
I went. 

I must, however, exculpate the gentleman who acted as 
my agent from undue persuasion exercised toward me. 
He was a man who thoroughly understood parliament, 
having sat there himself — and he sits there now at this 
moment. He understood Yorkshire — or. at least, the 
Kast Hiding of Yorkshire, in which Beverley is situated — 
certainly better than any one alive. He understood all the 
mysteries of canvassing, and he know well the traditions, 
the condition, and the prospect of the Liberal party. 1 
will not give his name, but they who knew Yorkshire in 
J<s(;8 will not bo at a loss to lind it. ** So," suid ho, ''you 


are going to stand for Beverley?" I replied gravely that 
I was thinking of doing so. '* You don't expect to get 
in?" he said. Again I was grave. I would not, I said, 
be sanguine, but nevertheless I was disposed to hope for 
the best. ''Oh, no!" continued he, with good-humored 
raillery, "you won't get in. I don't suppose yoH really 
expect it. But there is a fine career open to you. You 
will spend £1000, and lose the election. Then you will 
petition, and spend another £1000. You will throw out 
the elected members. There will be a commission, and 
the borough will be disfranchised. For a beginner, such 
as you are, that will be a great success." And yet, in the 
teeth of this, from a man who knew all about it, I per- 
sisted in going to Beverley! 

The borough, wliich returned two members, had long 
been represented by Sir Henry Edwards, of whom, I think, 
I am justified in saying that he had contracted a close 
intimacy with it for the sake of the seat. There had been 
many contests, many petitions, many void elections, many 
members, but, through it all. Sir Henry had kept his seat, 
if not with permanency, yet with a fixity of tenure next 
door to permanence. I fancy that, with a little manage- 
ment between the parties, the borough might at this time 
have returned a member of each color quietly; but there 
were spirits there who did not love political quietude, and 
it was at last decided that there should be two Liberal and 
two Conservative candidates. Sir Henry was joined by a 
young man of fortune in quest of a seat, and I was grouped 
with Mr. Maxwell, the eldest son of Lord Herries, a' 
Scotch Roman Catholic peer who lives in the neighbor- 

When the time came I went down to canvass, and spent, 
I think, the most wretched fortnight of my manhood. In 
the first place, I was subject to a bitter tyranny from 
grinding, vulgar tyrants. They were doing what they 
could, or said that they were doing so, to secure me aseat 


in Parliament, and I was to be in their hands, for, at any 
rate, the period of my candidature. On one day both of 
us, Mr. Maxwell and I, wanted to go out hunting. We 
proposed to ourselves but the one holiday during this 
period of intense labor; but I was assured, as was he also, 
by a publican who was working for us, that if we com- 
mitted such a crime he and all Beverley would desert us." 
From morning to evening, every day, I was taken round 
the lanes and by-ways of that uninteresting town, canvass- 
ing every voter, exposed to the rain, up to my knees in 
slush, and utterly unable to assume that air of triumph- 
ant joy with which a jolly, successful candidate should be 
invested. At night, every nigh^, I had to speak some- 
where—which was bad; and to listen to the speaking of 
others — which was much worse. When, on one Sunday 
I proposed to go to the Minster Church, I was told that 
was quite useless, as the Church party were all certain 
to support Sir Henry! "Indeed," said the publican, my 
tyrant; '' he goes there in a kind of oflScial profession, 
and you had better not allow yourself to be seen in the 
same place." So I stayed away and omitted my prayers. 
No Church of England church in Beverley would on such 
an occasion have welcomed a Liberal candidate. I felt 
myself to be a kind of pariah in the borough, to whom 
was opposed all that was pretty, and all that was nice, 
and all that was— ostensibly— good. 

But, perhaps, my strongest sense of discomfort arose 
from the conviction that my political ideas were all leather 
and prunella to the men whose votes I was soliciting. 
They cared nothing for my doctrines, and could not be 
made to understand that I should have any. I had been 
brought to Beverley either to beat Sir Henry Edwards— 
which, however, no one probably thought to be feasible — 
or to cause him the greatest possible amount of trouble, 
inconvenience, and expense. There were, indeed, two 
points on which ^a portion of my wished-for supporters 


seemed to have opinions, and on both these two pointfl. 
I was driven by my opinions to oppose them. Some were 
anxious for the ballot — which had not then become law — 
and some desired the Permissive Bill. I hated, and do 
hate, both these measures, thinking it to be unworthy of 
a great people to free itself from the evil results of vicious 
conduct by unmanly restraints* Undue influence on 
voters is a great evil, from which this country had already 
done much to emancipate itself by extended electoral 
divisions and by an increase of independent feeling. 
These, I thought, and not secret voting, were the weap- 
ons by which electoral intimidation should be overcome. 
And as for drink, I believe in no parliamentary restraint; 
but I do believe in the gradual effect of moral teaching 
and education. But a Liberal, to do any good at Bever- 
ley, should have been able to swallow such gnats as those. 
I would swallow nothing,and was altogether the wrong man. 

I knew, from the commencement of my candidature, 
how it would be. Of course that well-trained gentleman 
who condescended to act as my agent had understood the 
case, and I ought to have taken his thoroughly kind ad- 
vice. He had seen it all, and had told himself that it was 
wrong that one so innocent in such ways as I, so utterly 
unable to fight such a battle, should be carried down into 
Yorkshire merely to spend money and to be annoyed. He 
could not have said more than he did say, and 1 suffered 
for my obstinacy. Of course, I was not elected. Sir Henry 
Edwards and his comrade became members for Beverley, 
and I was at the bottom of the poll. I paid £400 for my 
expenses, and then returned to London. 

My friendly agent in his raillery had, of course, exag- 
gerated the cost. He had, when I arrived at Beverley, 
asked me for a check for £400, and told mo that that sum 
would suffice. It did suffice. How it came to pass that 
exactly that sum should be required I never knew, but 
such was the case. Then there came a petition— not from 


me, but from the town. The inquiry was made, the two 
gentlemen were unseated, the borough was disfranchised, 
Sir Henry Edwards was put on his trial for some kind of 
parliamentary offense, and was acquitted. In this way 
Beverley's privilege as a borough and my parliamentary 
ambition were brought to an end at the same time. 

When I knew the result I did not altogether regret it. 
It may be that Beverley might have been brought to- 
political confusion and Sir Henry Edwards relegated to 
private life without the expenditure of my hard-earned 
money, and without that fortnight of misery; but con- 
necting the things together, as it was natural that I should 
do, I did flatter myself that I had done some good. It 
had seemed to me that nothing could be worse, nothing 
more unpatriotic, nothing more absolutely opposed to the 
system of representative government, than the time- 
honored practices of the borough of Beverley. It had 
come to pass that political cleanliness was odious to the 
citizens. There was something grand in the scorn with 
which a leading Liberal there turned up his nose at me 
when I told him that there should be no bribery, no treat- 
ing, not even a pot of beer on one side. It was a matter 
for study to see how at Beverley politics were appreciated 
because they might subserve electoral purposes, and how 
little it was understood that electoral purposes, which are 
in themselves a nuisance, should he endured in order that 
they may subserve politics. And then the time, the money 
the mental energy, which had been expended in making the 
borough a secure seat for a gentleman who had realized the 
idea that it would become him to bo a member of Parlia- 
ment! This use of the borough seemed to be realized and 
approved in the borough generally. The inhabitants had 
taught themselves to think that it was for such purposes 
tiiat boroughs were intended! To have assisted in putting 
an end to this, even in one town, was to a certain extent a 




• In the spring of 186S — before the affair of Beverley, 
which, as being the first direct result of my resignation of 
office, has been brought in a little out of its turn — I was re- 
quested to go over to the United States and make a postal 
treaty at Washington. This, as I had left the service, I. re- 
garded as a compliment, and of course I went. It was my 
third visit to America, and 1 have made two since. As far 
as the Post-office work was concerned, it was very far from 
being agreeable. I found myself located at Washington, a 
place I do not love, and was harassed by delays, annoyed by 
incompetence, and opposed by what I felt to be persona] 
and not national views. I had to deal with two men — 
with one who was a working officer of the American Post- 
office, than whom I have never met a more zealous, or, as 
far as I could judge, a more honest, public servant. He 
had his views and I had mine, each of us having at heart 
the welfare of the service in regard to his own country — 
each of us also having certain orders which we were bound 
to obey. But the other gentleman, who was in rank the 
superior — whose executive position was dependent on his 
official status, as is the case with our own ministers— did 
not recommend himself to me equally. He would make 
appointments with me and then not keep them, which at 
last offended me so grievously that I declared at the Wash- 
ington Post-office that if this treatment were continued, I 
would write home to say that any further action on my 
part was impossible. 1 think I should have done so had 
it not occurred to me tliat I might in this way serve his 
purpose, rather than my own, or the purposes of thoflO 



who had sent me. The treaty, however, was at last made 
—the purport of which was, that everything possible 
should be done, at a heavy expenditure on the part of 
England, to expedite the mails from England to America, 
and that nothing should be done by America to expedite 
the mails from thence to us. The expedition I believe to 
be now equal both ways; but it could not be maintained 
as it is without the payment of a heavy subsidy from Great 
Britain, whereas no subsidy is paid by the States.* 

I had also a commission from the Foreign Office, for 
which I had asked, to make an effort on behalf of an 
international copyright between the United States and 
Great Britain— the want of which is the one great im- 
pediment to pecuniary success which still stands in the way 
of successful English authors. I cannot say that I have 
never had a shilling of American money on behalf of 
reprints of my work; but I have been conscious of no such 
payment. Having found many years ago— in 1861, when 
T made a struggle on the subject, being then in the States, 
the details of which are sufficiently amusing f— that I could 
not myself succeed in dealing with American booksellers, 
I have sold all foreign right to the English publishers; and 
though I do not know that I have raised my price against 

* This was a state of things which may probably have appeared 
to American politicians to be exactly that which they should try to 
obtain. The whole arrangement has again been altered smce the 
time of which I have spoken. 

f In answer to a question from myself, a certain American pub- 
lisher—he who usually reprinted my works— promised me that if 
any other American publisher republished my work on "America 
before he had dme so, he would not bring out a competing edition, 
though there would be no law to hinder him. I then entered mto 
an agreement with another American publisher, stipulating to 
BUDDlv him with early sheets; and he stipulating to supply me a 
certain royalty on his sales, and to supply me with accounts hulf- 
vearlv. 1 sent the sheets with energetic punctuality, and the work 
was brought out with equal energy and precision— by my old Amer- 
ican publishers. The gentleman who made the promise had not 
broken his word. No other American edition had come out before 
his. I never got any account, ftnd, of course, never rece;vert n, 


them on that score, I may in tliis way have had some in- 
direct advantage from the American market. But I do 
know tliat what the publishers have received here is very 
trifling. I doubt whether Messrs. Chapman & Hall, my 
pi-esent publishers, get for early sheets sent to the States 
as much as five per cent, on the price they pay me for my 
manuscript. But the American reaaers are more nu- 
merous than the English, and, taking them all through, 
are probably more wealthy. If I can get £1000 for a book 
here (exclusive of their market), I ought to be able to get 
as much there. If a man su^oply 600 customers with 
shoes in place of 300, there is no question as to such 
result. Why not, then, if I can supply 60, 000 'readers in- 
stead of 30,000? 

I fancied that I knew that the opposition to an inter- 
national copyright was by no meaus an American feeling, 
but was confined to the bosoms of a few interested Ameri- 
cans. All that I did and liearJ in reference to the subject 
on tliis further visit — and having a certain authority from 
the British Secretary of State with me I could hear and do 
something — altogether confirmed me in this view. I have 
no doubt that if I could poll American readers, or Ameri- 
can senators — or even American representatives, if the 
polling could be unbiased — or American booksellers,* 
that an assent to an international copyright would be the 
result. The state of things as it is is crushing to Ameri- 
can authors, as the publishers will not pay them on a 
liberal scale, knowing that they can supply their customers 
with modern English literature without paying for it. The 
English amount of production so much exceeds the Ameri- 
can, that the rate at which the former can be published 
rules the market. It is equally injurious to American 
booksellers — except to two or three of the greatest houses. 

* I might also say American publishers, if I might count them by 
tlie number of heads, and not by the amount of work done by the 


No small man can now acquire the exclusive right of 
printing and selling an English book, li such a one at- 
tempt it, the work is printed instantly by one of the 
leviathans, who alone are the gainers. The argument of 
course is, that the American readers are the gainers— that 
as they can get for nothing tlie use of certain property, 
they would be cutting their own throats were they to pass 
a law debarring ihemselves from the power of such appro- 
priation. In this argument all idea of honesty is thrown 
to the winds. It is not that they do not approve of a sys- 
tem of copyright — as many great men have disapproved — 
for their own law of copyright is as stringent as is ours. A 
bold assertion is made that they like to appropriate the 
goods of other people; and that, as in this case they can 
do so with impunity, they will continue to do so. But 
the argument, as far as I have been able to judge, comes 
not from the people, but from the bookselling levia- 
thans, and from those politicians whom the leviathans 
are able to attach to their interests. The ordinary Ameri- 
can purchaser is not much affected by sUght variations in 
price. He is, at any rate, too high-hearted to be affected 
by the prospect of such variation. It is the man who 
wants to make money, not he who fears that he may be 
called upon to spend it, who controls such matters as this 
in the United States. Itjs the large speculator who be- 
comes powerful in the lobbies of the House, and under- 
stands how wise it may be to incur a great expenditure 
either in the creation of a great business, or in protecting 
that which he has created from competition. Nothing was 
done in 1868 — and nothing has been done since (up to 
1876). A royal commission on the law of copyright is 
now about to sit in this country, of which I have consented 
to be a member; and the question must then be handled, 
though nothing done by a royal commission here can af- 
fect American legislators. But I do believe that if the 
measure be consistently and judiciously urged, the eu- 


emies to it in the States will gradually be overcome. 
)Sonie years since we had some quasi private meetings, 
nuder the presidency of Lord Stanhope, in Mr. John 
Murray's dining-room, on the subject of international 
copyright. At one of these I discussed this matter of 
American international copyright with Charles Dickens, 
who strongly declared his conviction that nothing would 
induce an American to give up the power he possesses of 
pirating British literature. But lie was a man who, seeing 
clearly what was before him, would not realize the possi- 
bility of shifting views. Because in this matter the Amer- 
ican decision had been, according to his thinking, dis- 
honest, therefore, no other than dishonest decision was to 
be expected from Americans. Against that idea I pro- 
tested, and now protest. American dishonesty is rampant; 
but it is rampant only among a few. It is the great mis- 
fortune of the community that those few have been able 
to dominate so large a portion of the population among 
which all men can vote, but so few can understand for 
what they are voting. 

Since this was written the commission on the law of 
copyright has sat and made its report. With the great 
body of it I agree, and could serve no reader by alluding 
liere at length to matters which are discussed there. But 
in regard to this question of international copyright with 
the United States, I think that we were incorrect in the 
expression of an opinion that fair justice, or justice ap- 
proaching to fairness, is now done by American publishers 
to English authors by payments made by them for early 
sheets, I have just found that £20 was paid to my pub- 
lisher in England for the use of the early sheets of a novel 
for which I received £1600 in England. When asked why 
he accepted so little, he assured me that the firm with 
whom he dealt would not give more. *' Why not go to 
another firm?" I asked.. No other firm would give a 
dollar; because no other firm would care to run counter to 


that great firm whicli had assumed to itself the right of 
publishing my books. I soon after received a copy of my 
own novel in the American form, and found that it was 
published for 7^d, That a great sale was expected can be 
argued from the fact that without a great sale the paper 
and printing necessary for the republication of a three- 
volume novel could not bo supplied. ]\Iany thousand 
copies must have been sold. But from these the author 
received not one shilling. I need hardly point out that 
the sum of £20 would not do more than compensate the 
publisher for his trouble in making the bargain. The 
publisher here, no doubt, might have refused to supply, 
the early sheets, but he had no means of exacting a higher 
price than that offered. I mention the circumstance here 
because it has been boasted, on behalf of the American 
publishers, that though there is no international copy- 
right, they deal so liberally with English authors as to 
make it unnecessary that the English author should be so 
protected. With the fact of the £20 just brought to my 
knowledge, and with the copy of my bobk publised at '7^(1. 
now in my hands, I feel that an international copyright is 
very necessary for my protection. 

They among Englishmen who best love and most admire 
the United States, have felt themselves tempted to use the 
strongest language in denouncing the sins of Americans. 
Who can but love their personal generosity, their active 
and far-seeking philanthropy, their love of education, their 
liatred of ignorance, the general conviction in the minds 
of all of them that a man should be enabled to walk up- 
right, fearing no one, and conscious that he is responsible 
for his own actions? In what country have grander ef- 
forts been made by private munificence to relievo 
the sufferings of humanity? Where can the English 
traveler find any more anxious to assist him than the 
normal American, when once the American shall have 
found the Englishman to bo neither sullen nor fasti- 


dious? Who, lastly, is so mucli an object of heart- 
felt admiration of the American man and the American 
woman as the well -mannered and well-educated English- 
woman or Englishman? These arc the ideas which I say 
spring uppermost in the minds of the nnprejndiced English 
traveler as he makes acquaintance witli these near relatives. 
Then he becomes cognizant of their official doings, of 
their politics, of their municipal scandals, of their great 
ring-robberies, of their lobbyings and briberies, and the 
infinite baseness of their public life. There, at the top of 
everything, he finds the very men who are the least fit to 
occupy high places. American public dishonesty is so 
glaring that the very friends he has made in the country 
are not slow to acknowledge it — speaking of public life as 
a thing apart from their own existence, as a state of dirt 
in which it would be an insult to suppose that they are 
concerned! In the midst of it all the stranger, who sees 
so much that he hates and so much that he loves, hardly 
knows how to express himself. 

"It is not enough that you are personally clean," he 
says, with what energy and courage he can command — 
'* not enough though the clean outnumber the foul as 
greatly as those gifted with eyesight outnumber the blind, 
if you that can see allow the blind to lead you. It is not 
by the private lives of the millions that the outside world 
will judge you, but by the public career of those units 
whose venality is allowed to debase the name of your 
country. There never was plainer proof given than is 
given here, that it is the duty of every honest citizen to 
look after the honpr of his state." 

Personally, I have to own that 1 have met Americans — 
men, but more frequently women — who have in all re- 
spects come up to what my ideas of what men and women 
should be; energetic, having opinions of their own, quick 
in speech, witli some dash of sarcasm at their -command, 
ftlwaysjntelligent, sweet to look at (I speak of the womon), 


fond of pleasure, and each with a personality of his or her 
own which makes no effort necessary on my own part in 
remembering the difference between Mrs. Walker and Mrs. 
Green, or between Mr. Smith and Mr. Johnson. They 
have faults. They are self-conscious, and are too prone to 
prove by ill-concealed struggles that they are as good as 
you— whereas you, perhaps, have been long acknowledging 
to yourself that they are much better. And there is some- 
times a pretense at personal dignity among those who 
think themselves to have risen high in the world, wliich is 
deliciously ludicrous. I remember two old gentlemen, the 
owners of names which stand deservedly high in public 
estimation, whose deportment at a public funeral turned 
the occasion into one for irresistible comedy. They are 
suspicious at first, and fearful of themselves. They lack 
that simplicity of manners wliich with us has become a 
habit from our childhood. But they are never fools, and 
I think that they are seldom ill-natured. 

There is a woman, of whom not to speak in a work pur- 
porting to be a memoir of my own life would be to omit 
all allusion to one of the chief pleasures which has graced 
my later years. In the last fifteen years she has been, out 
of my family, my most chosen friend. She is a ray of light 
to me, from which I can always strike a spark by thinking 
of her. I do not know that I should please her or do any 
good by naming lier. But not to allude to her in these 
pages would amount almost to a falsehood. I* could not 
write truly of myself without saying that such a friend had 
been vouchsafed to me. I trust she may live to read the 
words I have now written, and to wipe away a tear as she 
thinks of my feeling while I write them. 

I was absent on this occasion something over three 
months, and on my return I went back with energy to my 
work at the iSY. Paul's Magazine* The first novel in i^ 
from my own pen was called '" Phineas Finn," in whicli I 
commenced a series of semi-political tulcs. As I was 


debarred from expressing my opinions in the House of 
Commons, I took this method of declaring myself. And 
as I could not take my setit on those benches where I 
might possibly have been shone upon by the Speaker's 
eye, I had humbly to crave his permission for a scat in 
the gallery, so that I might thus become conversant with 
the ways and doings of the House in which some of my 
scenes were to be placed. The speaker was very gracious, 
and gave me a running order for, I think, a couple of 
months. It was enough, at any rate, to enable me often 
to be very tired, and, as I have been assured by members, 
to talk of the proceedings almost as well as though Fortune 
had enabled me to fall asleep within the House itself. 

In writing ^' Phineas Finn," and also some other novels 
which followed it, I was conscious that I could not make 
a tale pleasing chiefly, or perhaps in any part, by politics. 
If I write politics for my own sake, I must put in love 
and intrigue, social incidents, with perhaps a dash of 
sport, for the benefit of my readers. In this way I think 
I made my political hero interesting. It was certainly a 
blunder to take him from Ireland — into which I was led 
by the circumstance that I created the scheme of the book 
during a visit to Ireland. There was nothing to be gained 
by the peculiarity, and there was an added diflSculty in 
obtaining the sympathy and affection for a politician be- 
longing to a nationality whose politics are not respected in 
England. .But in spite of this Phineas succeeded. It 
was not a brilliant success, because men and women not 
conversant with political matters could not care much for 
a hero who spent so much of his time either in the House 
of Co.Timons or in a public office. But the men who 
would have lived with Phineas Finn read the book, and 
tlie women who would have lived with Lady Laura Stand- 
ish read it also. As this was what I had intended, I was 
contented. It is all fairly good except the ending, as to 
which till I got to it I made no provision, As I fully iu« 


tended to bring my hero again into the world, I was wrong 
to marry him to a simple, pretty Irish girl, who could only 
be felt as an incumbrance on such return. When he did 
return I had no alternative but to kill the simple pretty 
Irish girl, which was an unpleasant and awkward necessity. 
In writing *' Phineas Finn '* I had constantly before 
me the necessity of progression in character — of marking 
the changes in men and women which would naturally be 
produced by the lapse of years. In most novels the 
writer can have no such duty, as the period occupied is 
not long enough to allow of the change of which I speak. 
In **Ivanhoe," all the incidents of which are included 
in less than a month, the characters should "be, as they 
are, consistent throughout. Novelists who have under- 
taken to write the life of a hero or heroine have generally 
considered their work completed at the interesting period 
of marriage, and have contented themselves with the 
advance in taste and manners which are com.mon to all 
boys and girls as they become men and women. Fielding, 
no doubt, did more than this in ** Tom Jones,'* which is 
one of the greatest novels in the English language, for 
there he has shown how a noble and sanguine nature may 
fall away under temptation and be again strengthened 
and made to stand upright. But I do not think that 
novelists have often set before themselves the state of pro- 
gressive change — nor should I have done it, had I not 
found myself so frequently allured back to my old 
friends. So much of my inner life was passed in their 
company, that I was continually asking myself how this 
woman would act when this or that event had passed over 
her head, or how that man would carry himself when his 
youth had become manhood, or his manhood declined to 
old ago. It was in regard to the old Duke of Omnium, 
of his nephew and heir, and of his heir's wife, Lady 
Glencora, that I was anxious to carry out this idea; but 
Qthei*9 added themselves to my mind as I went on^ aud J 


got round me a circle of persons as to whom I knew not 
only their present characters, but how those characters 
were to be affected by years and circumstances. The 
happy, motherly life of Violet Effingham, which was due 
to the girl's honest, but long-restrained love; the tragic 
misery of Lady Laura, which was equally due to the sale 
she made of herself in her wretched marriage; and the 
long suffering but final success of the hero, of which he 
had deserved the first by his vanity, and the last by his 
constant honesty, had been foreshadowed to me from the 
first. As to the incidents of the story, the circumstances 
by which these personages were to be affected, I knew 
nothing. They were created for the most part as they 
were described. I never could arrange a set of events 
before me. 'But the evil and the good of my puppets, 
and how the evil would always lead to evil, and the good 
produce good — that was clear .to me as the stars on a sum- 
mer night. 

Lady Laura Standish is the best character in '^Phineas 
Finn " and its sequel " Phineas Kedux" — of which I will 
speak here together. They are, in fact, but one novel, 
though they were brought out at a considerable interval 
of time, and in different form. The first was commenced 
in the SL Paul's Magazine in 1867, and the other was 
brought out in the Graphic in 1873. In this there was 
much bad arrrangement, as I had no right to expect that 
novel-readers would remember the characters of a story 
after an interval of six years, or that any little interest 
which might have been taken in the career of my hero 
could then have been renewed. I do not know that such 
interest was renewed. But I found that the sequel en- 
joyed the same popularity as the former part, and among 
the same class of readers. Phineas, and Lady Laura, and 
Lady Chiltern— as Violet had become-— and the old duko 
— whom I killed gracefully, and the new duke, and the 
young duchess, either kept their old frieuds or made new 


friends for themselves. "Phineas Finn," I certainly 
think, was successful from first to last. I am aware, how- 
ever, that there was nothing in it to touch the heart like 
the abasement of Lady Mason when confessing her guilt 
to her old lover, or any approach in delicacy of delineation 
to the character of Mr. Crawley. 

" Phineas Finn," tlie first part of the story, was completed 
in May, 1807. In June and July I wrote ''Linda Tressel ** 
for BlachwoocVs Magazine, of which I hate already spoken. 
In September and October I wrote a short novel, called 
I' The Golden Lion of Granpere," which was intended also 
for Blackwood— mt\\ a view of being published anony- 
mously; but Mr. Blackwood did not find the arrangement 
to be profitable, and the story remained on my hands, un- 
read and unthought of, for a few years. It appeared sub- 
sequently in Good Words, It was written on the model of 
''Nina Balatka " and "Linda Tressel," but is very in- 
ferior to either of them. In November of the same year, 
1867, I began a very long novel, which I called "He 
Knew He Was Right," and which was brought out by Mr. 
Virtue, the proprietor of the St. PauVs Magazine, in six- 
penny numbers, every week. I do not know that in any 
literary effort I ever fell more completely short of my own 
intention than in this story. It was my purpose to create 
sympathy for the unfortunate man who, while endeavoring 
to do his duty to all around him, should be led constantly 
astray by his unwillingness to submit his own judgment to 
the opinion of others. The man is made to be unfortunate 
enough, and the evil which he does is apparent. So far I 
did not fail, but the sympathy has not been created yet. 
I look upon the story as being nearly altogether bad. It 
is in part redeemed by certain scenes in the house and 
vicinity of an old maid in Exeter. But a novel which in 
its main parts is bad cannot, in truth, be redeemed by the 
vitality of subordinate characters. 

This work was fintshed while I was at Washington in 


the spring of 1868, and on the day after I finished it I 
commenced ''The Vicar of Bullhampton," a novel which 
I wrote for Messrs. Bradbury & Evans. This I completed 
in November, 1868, and at once began "Sir Harry Hot- 
spur of Humblethwaite," a story which I was still writing 
at tlie close of the year. I look upon these two years, 1867 
and 1868, of which I have given a somewhat confused ac- 
count in this and the two preceding chapters, as the busiest 
in my life. I had, indeed, left the Post-office, but though 
I had left it I had been employed by it during a consider- 
able portion of the time. I had established the SL PauVsr 
Magazine, in reference to which I had read an enormous 
amount of manuscript, and for which, independently of 
my novels, I had written articles almost monthly. I had 
stood for Beverley and had made many speeches. I had 
also written five novels, and had hunted three times a 
week during each of the winters. And how happy I was 
with it all! I had suffered at Beverley, but I had suffered 
as a part of the work which I was desirous of doing, and I 
had gained my experience. I had suffered at Washington 
with that wretched American postmaster, and with the 
mosquitoes, not having been able to escape from that capital 
till July; but all that had added to the activity of my life. 
I had often groaned over those manuscripts; but I had read 
them, considering it— perhaps foolishly — to be a part of 
my duty as editor. And though in the quick production 
of my novels I had always ringing in my ears that terrible 
condemnation and scorn produced by the great man in 
Paternoster Row, I was nevertheless proud of having done 
80 much. I always had a pen in my hand. Whether 
crossing the seas, or fighting with American officials, or 
tramping about the streets of Beverley, I could do a little, 
and generally more than a little. I had long since con. 
Tinced myself that in such work as mine the great secret 
consisted in acknowledging myself to be bound to rules of 
labor similar to those which an artisan or a mechanic is 


forced to obey. A shoemaker when he has finished one 
pair of shoes does not sit down and contemphite liis work 
in idle satisfaction. ** There is my pair of shoes finislied 
at last! What a pair of shoes it is!" The shoemaker who 
80 indulged himself would be without wages half his time. 
It is the same with a professional writer of books. An 
-author may, of course, want time to study a new subject. 
He will, at any rate, assure himself that there is some 
such good reason why he should pause. He doe? pause, 
and will be idle for a month or two, while he tells him- 
self how beautiful is that last pair of shoes which he has 
finished! Having thought much of all this, and having 
made up my mind that I could be really happy only when 
I was at work, I had now quite accustomed myself to 
begin a second pair as soon as the first was out of my 


''the vicar OF BULLHAMPTON." — ''SIR HARRY HOT- 
SPUR." — " AN editor's tales." — '' C^SAR." 

In 1869 I was called on to decide, in council with my 
two boys and their mother, what should be their destina- 
tion in life. In June of that year the elder, who was then 
twenty-three, was called to the Bar; and as he had gone 
through the regular courses of lecturing, tuition, and 
study, it might be supposed that his course was already 
decided. But, just as he was called, there seemed to be 
an opening for him in another direction; and this, joined 
to the terrible uncertainty of the Bar, the terror of which 
was not in his case lessened by any peculiar forensic 
aptitude, induced us to sacrifice dignity in quest of suc- 
cess. Mr. Frederic Chapman, who was then the sole rep- 
resentative of the publishing' house known as Messrs. 
Chapman & Hall, wanted a partner, and my son Heriry 
Vfent into the firm. He remained there three years and a 


half; but he did not like it, nor do I tliin'k ho made a very 
good publisher. At any rate, he left the business with 
perhaps more pecuniary success than might have been 
expected from the short period of his labors, and has since 
taken himself to literature as a profession. Whether he 
will work at it so hard as his father, and write as many 
books, may be doubted. 

My second son, Frederic, had very early in life gone out 
to Australia, having resolved on a colonial career when he 
found that boys who did not grow so fast as he did got 
above him at school. This departure was a great pang to 
his mother and me; but it was permitted on the under- 
standing that he was to come back when he was twenty- 
one, and then decide whether he would remain in England 
or return to the Colonies. In the winter of 1868 he did 
come to England, and had a season's hunting in the old 
country; but there was no doubt in'his own mind as to his 
settling in Australia. His purpose was fixed, and in the 
spring of 1869 he made his second journey out. As I have 
since tliat date ?nade two journeys to see him — of one of 
which, at any rate, I shall have to speak, as I wrote a long 
book on the Australasian Colonies — I* will have an oppor- 
tunity of saying a word or two further on of him and his 

*' The Vicar of Bullhampton " was written in 1868, for 
publication mO)ice a Week, a periodical then belonging to 
Messrs. Bradbury & Evans. It was not to come out till 
1869, and I, as was my wont, had made^my terms long pre- 
viously to the proposed date. I had made my terms and 
written my story and sent it to the publisher long before 
it was wanted; and so far my mind was at rest. The 
date fixed was the first of July, which date had been 
named in accordance with thc^ exigencies of the ed- 
itor of the periodical. An author who writes for these 
publications is bound to suit himself to these exigen- 
cies, and can generally do so without pereoual loss or 


inconvenience, if he will only take time by the fore- 
lock. With all the pages that I have written for 
magazines I have never been a day late, nor have I ever 
caused inconvenience by sending less or more matter than 
I had stipulated to supply. But I have sometimes found 
myself compelled to suffer by the irregularity of others. 
I have endeavored to console myself by reflecting that such 
must ever be the fate of virtue. The industrious must 
feed the idle. The honest and simple will always be the 
prey of the cunning and fraudulent. Tlie punctual, who 
keep none waiting for them, are doomed to wait perpetually 
for the unpunctual. But these earthly sufferers know 
that they are making their way heavenward, and their 
oppressors their way elseward. If the former reflection 
does not sufiBce for consolation, the deficiency is made up 
by the second. I was terribly aggrieved on the matter of 
the publication of my new Vicar, and had to think very 
much of the ultimate rewards of punctuality and its oppo- 
site. About the end of March, 1869, I got a dolorous 
letter from the e(?itor. All the Once a Week people were 
in a terrible trouble. They had bought the right of trans- 
lating one of Victor Hugo's modern novels, ** L'Homme 
Qui Kit;" they had fixed a date, relying on positive pledges 
from the French publishers; and now the great French 
author had postponed his work from week to week and 
from month to month, and it had so come to pass tliat the 
Frenchman's grinning hero would have to appear exactly 
at the same time as my clergyman. Was it not quite ap- 
parent to me, the editor asked, that Once aWeek co\.\\^ not 
hold the two? Would I allow my clergyman to make his 
appearance in the Oentleman^s Magazine instead? 

My disgust at this proposition was, I think, chiefly due 
to Victor Hugo's later novels, which I regard as pre- 
tentious and untrue to nature. To this, perhaps, was 
added some feeling of indignation that I should be asked 
to give way to a Frenchman. The Frenchman had broken 


his engagement. He had failed to have his work finished 
by the stipulated time. From week to week and from 
month to mouth he had put off the fulfillment of his duty. 
And because of these laches on his part — on the part of 
this sententious French Radical — I was to be thrown over! 
Virtue sometimes finds it difficult to console herself even 
with the double comfort. I would not [come out in the 
Gentleman's Magazine, and as the Grinning Man could 
not be got out of the way, my novel was published in 
separate numbers. 

The same thing has occurred to me more than once 
since. ** You. no doubt, are regular," a publisher has 

said to me, **butMr. is irregular. He has thrown 

me out, and I cannot be ready for you till three months 
after the time named." In these emergencies I have 
given perhaps half what was wanted, and have refused 
to give the other half. I have endeavored to fight my 
own battle fairly, and at the same time not to make 
myself unnecessarily obstinate. But the circumstances 
have impressed on my mind the great need there is that 
men engaged in literature should feel themselves to be 
bound to their industry as men know that they are 
bound in other callings. There does exist, I fear, a feel- 
ing that authors, because they are authors, are relieved 
from the necessity of paying attention to everyday rules. 
A writer, if he be making XSOO a year, does not think 
himself bound 'to live modestly on £600, and put by the 
remainder for his wife and children. He does not under- 
stand that he should sit down at his desk at a certain 
hour. He imagines that publishers and booksellers should 
keep all their engagements with him to the letter; but 
hat he, as a brain-worker, and conscious of the subtile 
ature of the brain, should be able to exempt himself 
itor bonds when it suits him. He has his own theory 
publibspiration, which will not always come— especially 
cies, and ^^ if wine-cups over night h^y^ be^u too deep, 


All this has ever been odious to me, as being unmanly. A, 
man may be frail in health, and therefore unable to do as 
he has contracted, in whatever grade of life. He who 
has been blessed with physical strength to work day by 
day, year by year— as has been my case— should pardon 
deficiencies caused by sickness or infirmity. I may in this 
respect have been a little hard on others, and, if so, I here 
record my repentance. But I think that no allowance 
should be given to claims for exemption from punctuality, 
made, if not absolutely on* the score, still, with the convic- 
tion, of intellectual superiority. 

*'The Vicar of Bullhampton " was written chiefly with 
the object of exciting not only pity, but sympathy, for a 
fallen woman, and of raising a feeling of forgiveness for 
such in the minds of other women. I could not venture 
to make this female the heroine of my story. To have 
made her a heroine at all would have been directly op- 
posed to my purpose. It was necessary, therefore, that 
she should be a second-rate personage in the tale; but it 
was with reference to her life that the tale was written, 
and the hero and the heroine, with their belongings, are 
all subordinate. To this novel I affixed a preface— in 
doing which I was acting in defiance of my old-established 
principle. I do not know that any one read it; but as I wish 
to have it read, I will insert it here again: 

**I have introduced in *The Vicar of Bullhampton ' the 
character of a girl whom I will call— for want of a truer 
word that shall noji in its truth be offensive— a castaway. 
I have endeavored to endow her with ({ualities that may 
create sympathy, and I have brought her back at last from 
degradation, at least to decency. I have not married her 
to a wealthy lover, and I have endeavored to explain that 
though there was possible to her a way out of perdition, still 
things could not be with her as they would have been had 
she not fallen. 


*' There arises, of coarse, the question whether a novel- 
ist, who professes to write for the amusement of the 
young of both sexes, should allow himself to bring upon 
his stage a character such as that of Carry Brattle. It is 
not long since — it is well within the memory of the author 
— that the very existence of such a condition of life as was 
hers was supposed to be unknown to our sisters and daugh- 
ters, and was, in truth, unknown to many of them. Whether 
that ignorance was good may be questioned; but that it 
exists no longer is beyond question. Then arises the fur- 
ther question — how far the condition of such unfortunates 
should be made a matter of concern to the sweet young 
hearts of those whose delicacy and cleanliness of thought 
is a matter of pride to so many of us. Cannot women 
who are good pity the sufferings of the vicious, and do 
something, perhaps, to mitigate and shorten them, with- 
out contamination from the vice? It will be admitted, 
probably, by most men who have thought upon the sub- 
ject, that no fault among us is punished so heevily as 
that fault; often so light in itself, but so terrible in its 
consequences to the less faulty of the two offenders, by 
which a woman falls. All her own sex is against her, and 
all those of the other sex in whose veins runs the blood 
which she is thought to have contaminated, and who, of 
nature, would befriend her were her trouble any other 
than it is. 

'*She is what she is, and she remains in her abject, 
pitiless, unutterable misery, because this sentence of the 
world has placed her beyond the helping hand of Love 
and Friendship. It maybe said, no)loubt, that the se- 
verity of this judgment acts as a protection to female 
virtue — deterring, as all known punishments do deter, 
from vice. But this punishment, which is horrible be- 
yond the conception of those who have not regarded it 
closely, is not known beforehand. Instead of the pun- 
ishment, there is seen a false glitter of gaudy life— a glitter 


which is damnably false — and which, alas! has been more 
often portrayed in glowing colors, for the injury of young 
girls, than have those horrors which ought to deter, with 
the dark shadowings which belong to them. 

"To write in fiction of one so fallen as the noblest of 
her sex, as one to be rewarded because of her weakness, 
as one whose life is happy, bright, and glorious, is cer- 
tainly to allure to vice and misery. But it may, perhaps, 
be possible that if the matter be handled with truth to 
life, some girl, who would have been thouglitless, may be 
made thoughtful, or some parent's heart may be softened." 

Those were my ideas when I conceived tlie story, and 
with that feeling I described the characters of Carry Brat- 
tle and of her family. I have not introduced her lover on 
the scene, nor have I presented her to the reader in the 
temporary enjoyment of any of those fallacious luxuries, 
the longing for which is sometimes more seductive to evil 
than love itself. She is introduced as a poor, abased 
creature, who hardly knows how false were her dreams, 
with very little of the Magdalene about her — because, 
though there may be Magdalenes, they are not often found 
— but with an intense horror of the sufferings of her posi- 
tion. Such being her condition, will they who naturally 
are her friends protect her? The vicar, who has taken her 
by the hand, endeavors to excite them to charity; but 
fatrfier and brother and sister are alike hard-hearted. It 
had been my purpose at first that the hand of every Brat- 
tle should be against herj but my own heart was too soft 
to enable me to make the mother cruel — or the unmarried 
sister, who had been the early companion of the forlorn one. 

As regards all the Brattles, the story is, I think, well 
told. The characteiis are true, and the scenes at the mill 
are in keeping with human nature. For the rest of the 
book I have little to say. It is not very bad, and it cer- 
taiuly is not very good. As I have myself forgotten what 


the heroine does and says — except that she tumbles into a 
ditch — I cannot expect that any one else should remember 
her. But I have forgotten nothing that was done or said 
by any of the Brattles. 

The question brought in argument is one of fearful im- 
portance. As to the view to be taken first, there can, I 
think, be no doubt. In regard to a sin common to the 
two sexes, almost all the punishment and all the disgrace 
is heaped upon the one who in nine cases out of ten has 
been the least sinful. And the punishment inflicted is of 
such a nature that it hardly allows room for repentance. 
How is the woman to return to decency to whom no decent 
door is opened? Then comes the answer: It is to the 
severity of the punishment alone that we can trust to keep 
women from falling. Such is the argument used in favor 
of the existing practice, and such the excuse given for 
their severity by women who will relax nothing of their 
harshness. But, in truth, the severity of the punishment 
is not known beforehand; it is not in the least understood 
by women in general, except by those who suffer it. The 
gaudy dirt, the squalid plenty, the contumely of famil- 
iarity, the absence of all good words and all good things, 
the banishment from honest labor, the being compassed 
round with lies, the flaunting glare of fictitious revelry, 
the weary pavement, the horrid slavery to some horrid 
tyrant — and then the quick depreciation of that one ware 
of beauty, the substituted paint, garments bright without 
but foul within, like painted sepulchers, hunger, thirst, 
and strong drink, life without a hope, without the cer- 
tainty even of a morrow's breakfast, utterly friendless, 
disease, starvation, and a quivering fear of that comijig 
hell which still can hardly be worse than all that is suf- 
fered here! This is the life to which we doom our erring 
daughters, when because of their error we close our door 
upon them! But for our erring sons wo find pardon easily 



Of course there are houses of refuge, from which it ha« 
been thought expedient to banish everything pleasant, as 
though the only repentance to which we can afford to give 
a. place must necessarily be one of sackcloth and ashes. 
It is hardly thus that we can hope to recall those to de- 
cency who, if they are to be recalled at all, must be in^ 
duced to obey the summons before they have reached the 
last stage of that misery which I have attempted to de- 
scribe. To mc the mistake which we too often make seems, 
to be this— that the girl who has gone astray is put out of 
sight, out of mind, if possible, at any rate, out of speech, 
as though she had never existed, and that this ferocity 
comes not only from hatred of the sin, but in part also 
from a dread of the taint which the sin brings with it. 
Very low as is the degradation to which a girl is brought 
when she falls through love or vanity, or perhaps from a 
longing for luxurious ease, still much lower is that to 
which she must descend perforce when, through the hard- 
ness of the world around her, she converts that sin into a 
trade. Mothers and sisters, when the misfortune comes 
upon them of a fallen female from among their number, 
should remember this, and not fear contamination so 
strongly as did Carry Brattle's married sister and sister-in- 

In 1870 I brought out three books— or, rather, of the 
latter of the three I must say that it was brought out by 
other*, for I had nothing to do with it except to write it. 
These were **Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite," *' An 
Editor's Tales," and a little volume on Julius Caesar. 
'* Sir Harry Hotspur " was written on the same plan as 
"NinaBalatka'* and ** Linda Tressel," apd had for its 
object the telling of some pathetic incident in life rather 
than the portraiture 6f a number of human beings. 
'* Nina " and '' Linda Tressel " and '* The Golden Lion '' 
bad been placed in foreign countries, and this was an 
English story. In other respects it is of the same nature, 


and was not, I think, by any means a failure. There is 
much of pathos in the fove of the girl, and of paternal 
dignity and affection in the father. 

It was published first in Macmillan^s Magazine, by the 
intelligent proprietor of which I have since been told that 
it did not make either his fortune or that of his magazine. 
I am sorry that it should have been so; but I fear that the 
same thing may be said of a good many of my novels. 
When it had passed through the magazine, the subsequent 
use of it was sold to other publishers by Mr. Macmilhin, 
and then I learned that it was to be bronght out by them 
as a novel in two vohimes. Now, it had been sold by me 
a& a novel in one volume, and heuce there arose a cor- 

I found it very hard to make the purchasers understand 
that I had reasonable ground for objection to the process. 
What was it to me? How could it injure me if they 
stretched my pages, by means of lead and margin, into 
double the number I had intended. I have heard the 
same argument on other occasions. When I have pointed 
out that in this way the public would have to suffer, see- 
ing that they would have to pay Mudie for the use of two 
volumes, in reading that which ought to have been given 
to them in one. I have been assured that the public are 
pleased with literary short measure, that it is the object 
of novel-readers to get through novels as fast as they can^ 
and that the shorter each volume is the better! Even 
this, however, did not overcome me, and I stood to my 
guns. "Sir Harry " was published in one volume, con- 
taining something over the normal 300 pages, with an 
average of 220 -words to a page, which I had settled with 
my conscience to be the proper length of a novel volume. 
I may here mention that on one occasion, and on one oc- 
casion only, a publisher got the better of me in a matter 
of volumes. He had a two-volume novel of mine running 
through a certain magazine, and had it printed complete 


in three volumes before I knew where I was, before I had 
seen a sheet of the letterpress. I stormed for a while, but 
I had not the heart to make him break up the type. 

The *' Editor's Tales" was a volume republished from 
the St PauVs Magazine, and professed to give an editor's 
experience of his dealings with contributors. I do not 
think that there is a single incident in the book which 
could bring buck to any one concerned the memory of a 
past event. And yet there is not an incident in it the out- 
line of ^lich was not presented to my mind by the remem- 
brance of some fact— how an ingenious gentlemen got 
into conversation with me, I not knowing that he knew 
me to be an editor, and pressed his little article on my 
notice; how I was addressed by a lady with a becoming 
pseudonym, and with much equally becoming audacity; 
how I was appealed to by the dearest of little women, whom 
here I have called Mary Gresley; how in my own early days 
there was a struggle over an abortive periodical, which 
was intended to be the best thing ever done; how terrible 
was the tragedy of a poor drunkard, who, with infinite 
learning at this command, made one sad final effort to re- 
claim himself, and perished while he was making it; and 
lastly, how a poor, weak editor was driven nearly to mad- 
ness, by threatened litigation from a rejected contributor. 
Of these stories "The Spotted Dog," with the struggles 
of the drunkard scholar, is the best. I know now, how- 
ever, that when the things were good they came out too 
quick one upon another to gain much attention— and so 
also, luckily, when they were bad. 

The " Caesar" was a thing of itself. My friend John 
Blackwood had set on foot a series of small volumes called 
'* Ancient Classics for English Readers," and had placed 
the editing of them, and the compiling of many of them, 
in the hands of William Lucas Collins, a clergyman who, 
from my connection with the series, became a most inti- 
mate friend. The " Iliad " and the " Odyssey " had al- 


ready come out when I was at Edinburgh with John 
Blackwood, and, on my expressing my very strong admira- 
tion for those two little volumes — which I here recom- 
mend to all young ladies as the most charming tales they 
can read — he asked me whether I would not undertake 
one myself. "Herodotus" was in the press, but, if I 
could get it ready, mine should be next. Whereupon I 
offered- to say what might be said to the readers of English 
on " The Commentaries of Julius Caesar." 

I at once went to work, and in three months ivom that 
day the little book had been written. I began by reading 
through the " Commentaries " twice, which I did without 
any assistance either by translation or English notes. 
Latin was not so familiar to me then as it has since be- 
come, for from that date I have almost daily spent an 
hour with some Latin author, and on many days many 
hours. After the reading what my author had left bdiind 
him, I fell into the reading of what others had written 
about him, in Latin, in English, and even in French; for 
I went through much of that most futile book by the late 
Emperor of the French. I do not know tliat, for a short 
period, I ever worked harder. The amount I had to write 
was nothing. Three weeks would have done it easily. 
But I was most anxious, in this soaring out of my own 
peculiar line, not to disgrace myself. I do not think that 
I did disgrace myself. Perhaps I was anxious for some- 
thing more. If so, I was disappointed. 

The book I think to be a good little book. It is readable 
by all, old and young, and it gives, I believe accurately, 
both an account of '* Ctesar's Commentaries" — which, of 
course, was the primary intention — and the chief circum- 
stances of the great Roman's life. A well-educated girl 
who had read it and remembered it would, perhaps, know 
as much about Caesar and his writings as slie need know. 
Beyond the consolation of thinking as I do about it, I got 
Tery little gratification from the work. Nobody praised 


it. One very old and yery learned friend to whom I sent 
it thanked me for my " comic Caesar," but said no more. 
I do not suppose that he intended to run a dagger into 
me. Of any suffering from such wounds, I think, while 
living, I never showed a sign; but still I have suffered oc- 
casionally. There was, however, probably present to my 
friend's mind, and to that of others, a feeling that a man 
who had spent his life in writing English novels could not 
be fit to write about Caesar. It was as when an amateur 
gets a picture hung on the walls of the Academy. What 
business had I there? Ne sutor ultra crepidam. In the 
press it was most faintly damned by most faint praise. 
Nevertheless, having read the book again within the last 
month or two, I make bold to say that it is a good book. 
The series, I believe, has done very well. I am sure that 
it ought to do well in years to come, for, putting aside 
'*C»sar/* the work has been done with infinite scholar- 
ship, and very generally with a light hand. With the 
leave of my sententious and sonorous friend, who had not 
endured that subjects which had been grave to him should 
be treated irreverently, I will say that such a work, unless 
it be light, cannot answer the purpose for which it is in- 
tended. It was not exactly a school-book that was wanted, 
but something that would carry the purposes of the school- 
room even into the leisure hours of adult pupils. Nothing 
was ever better suited for such a purpose than the " Iliad " 
and the " Odyssey," as done by Mr. Collins. The " Vir- 
gil," also done by him, is very good; and so is the ** Aris- 
tophanes," by the same hand. 



In the spring of 1871 we- 1 and my wife -had decided 
that we would go to Australia to visit our shepherd son. 


Of course, before doing so, I made a contract with a pub- 
lisher for a book about the colonies. For such a work as 
this I had always been aware that I could not fairly de- 
mand more than half the price that would be given for 
the same amount of fiction; and as such books have an 
indomitable tendency to stretch themselves, so that more 
is given than what is sold, and as the cost of traveling is 
heavy, the writing of them is not remunerative. This 
tendency to stretch comes not, I think, generally from the 
ambition of the writer, but from his inability to comprise 
the different parts in their allotted spaces. If you have 
to deal with a country, a colony, a city, a trade, or a 
political opinion, it is so .much easier to deal with it in 
twenty than in twelve pages! I also made an engagement 
with the editor of a London daily paper to supply him 
with a series of articles— which were duly written, duly 
published, and duly paid for. But, with all this, travel- 
ing with the object of writing is not a good trade. If the 
traveling author can pay his bills, he must be a good man- 
ager on the road. 

Before starting there came upon us the terrible necessity 
of coming to some resolution about our house at Waltham. 
It had beeu first hired, and then bought, primarily be- 
cause it suited my Post-office avocations. To this reason 
had been added other attractions — in the shape of hunting, 
gardening, and suburban hospitalities. Altogether the 
house had been a success, and the scene of much happi- 
ness. But there arose questions as to expense. Would 
not a house in London be cheaper? There could be no 
doubt that my income would decrease, and was decreasing. 
I had thrown the Post-office, as it were, away, and the 
writing of novels could not go on forever, Some of my 
friends told me already that at fifty-five I ought to give up 
the fabrication of love-stories. The hunting, I thought, 
must soon go, and I would not therefore allow that to 
keep me in the country. And then, why should I live at 


Waltham Cross now, seeing that I had fixed on that place 
in reference to the Post-oflBce? It was therefore deter- 
mined .that we would flit, and as we were to be away for 
eighteen months, we determined also to sell our furniture. 
So there was a packing- up, with many tears and consulta- 
tions as to what should be saved out of the things we 

As must take place on such an occasion, there was some 
heart-felt grief. But the thing was done, and orders were 
given for the letting or sale of the house. I may as well 
say here that it never was let, and that it remained unoc- 
cupied for two years before it was sold. I lost by the 
transaction about £800. As I continually hear that other 
men make money by buying and selling houses, 1 presume 
I am not well adapted for transactions of that sort. I 
have never made money by selling anything except a man- 
uscript. In matters of horseflesh I am so inefficient that 
I have generally given away horses that I have not wanted: 

When we started from Liverpool, in May, 1871, "Ralph 
the Heir" was running through the SL PauVs. This was 
the novel of which Charles Reade afterward took the plot 
and made on it a play. I have always thought it to be 
one of the worst novels I have written, and almost to have 
justified that dictum that a novelist after fifty should not 
write love-stories. It was in part a political novel; and 
that part which appertains to politics, and which recounts 
the electioneering experiences of the candidates at Percy- 
cross, is well enough. Percycross and Beverley were,- of 
course, one and the same place. Neefit, the breeches- 
maker, and his daughter, are also good in their way; and 
Moggs, the daughter's lover, who was not only lover, but 
also one of the candidates at Percycross as well. But the 
main thread of the story— that which tells of the doings 
of the young gentlemen and young ladies — the heroes 
and heroines^ — is not good. Ralph the heir has not much 
life about hiin; while Ralph who is not the heir, but is 


intended to be the real hero, has none. The same maybe 
said of the young ladies, of whom one — she who was meant 
to be the chief — has passed utterly out of my mind, with- 
out leaving a trace of remembrance behind. 

I also left in the hands of the editor of The Fortnightly, 
ready for production on the 1st of July following, a story 
called "The Eustace Diamonds." In that I think that my 
friend's dictum was disproved. There is not much love in 
it, but what there is, is good. The character of Lucy 
Morris is pretty; and her love is as genuine and as well 
told as that of Lucy Robarts or Lily Dale. 

But "The Eustace Diamonds" achieved the success 
which it certainly did attain, not as a love-story, but as a 
record of a cunning little woman of pseudo-fashion, to 
whom, in her cunning, there came a series of adventures, 
unpleasant enough in themselves, but pleasant to the 
reader. As I wrote the book, the idea constantly pre- 
sented itself to me that Lizzie Eustace was but a second 
Becky Sharpe; but in planning the character I had not 
thought of this, and I believe that Lizzie would have 
been just as she is though Becky Sharpe had never been 
described. The plot of the diamond necklace is, I think, 
well arranged, though it produced itself without any fore- 
thought. I had no idea of setting thieves after the bauble 
till I had got my heroine to bed in the inn at Carlisle; nor 
of the disappointment of the thieves, till Lizzie had been 
wakened in the morning with the news that her door had 
been broken open. All these things, and many more, 
"Wilkie Collins would have arranged before with infinite 
labor, preparing things present so that they should fit in 
with things to come. I have gone on the very much easier 
plan of making everything as it comes fit in with what 
has gone before. At any rate, the book was a suocees, 
and did much to repair the injury which I felt had come 
to my reputation in the novel-market by the works of the 
last few years. I doubt whether I had written anything 


BO successful as "The Eustace Diamonds" since "The 
Small House at Allington." I had written what was much 
better— as, for instance, "Phineas Finn" and "Nina 
Balatka;" but that is by no means the same thing. 

I also left behind, in a strong-box, the manuscript of 
" Phineas Redux," a novel of which I have already spoken, 
and which I subsequently sold to the proprietors of the 
Graphic newspaper. The editor of that paper greatly dis- 
liked the title, assuring me that the public would take 
Redux for the gentleman's surname— and was dissatisfied 
with me when I replied that I had no objetion to them 
doing so. The introduction of a Latin word, or of a 
word"" from any other language, into the title of an 
English novel is undoubtedly in bad taste; but after turn- 
ing the matter much over in my own mind, I could find 
no other suitable name. 

I also left behind me, in the same strong-box, another 
novel, called "An Eye for an Eye," which then had been 
some time written, and of which, as it has not even yet 
been published, I will not further speak. It will prob- 
ably be published some day, though, looking forwai'd, I 
can see no room for it, at any rate, for the next two 


If, therefore, the Great Britain, in which we sailed for 
Melbourne, had gone to the bottom, I had so provided 
that there would be new novels ready to come out under 
my name for some years to come. This consideration, 
however, did not keep me idle while I was at sea. When 
making long journeys, I have always succeeded in getting 
a desk put up in my cabin, and this was done ready for 
me in the Great Britain, so that I could go to work the 
day after we left Liverpool. This I did; and before I 
reached Melbourne I had finished a story called " Lady 
Anna." Every word of this was written at sea, during the 
two months required for our voyage, and was done day by 
auy_-vyith the intermission of one day's illness— for eight 


weeks, at the rate of sixty-six pages of manuscript in each 
week, every page of manuscript containing two hundred 
and fifty words. Every word was counted. I have seen 
work come back to an author from the press with terrible 
deficiencies as to the amount supplied. Thirty-two pages 
have perhaps been wanted for a number, and the printers, 
with all their art, could not stretch the matter to more 
than twenty-eight or nine! The work of filling up must 
be very dreadful. I have sometimes been ridiculed for 
the methodical details of my business. But by these con- 
trivances I have been preserved from many troubles; and 
I have saved others with whom I have worked — editors, 
publishers, and printers — from much trouble also. 

A month or two after my return home ^' Lady Anna" 
appeared in TJie Fortnightly ^ following " The Eustace 
Diamonds." In it a young girl, who is really a lady of 
high rank and great wealth, though in her youth she en- 
joyed none of the privileges of wealth or rauk, marries a 
tailor who had been good to her, and whom she had loved 
when she was poor and neglected. A fine young noble 
lover is provided for her, and all the charms of sweet liv-' 
ipg with nice people are thrown in her way, in order that 
she may be made to give up the tailor. And the charms 
are very powerful with her. But the feeling that she is 
bound by her troth to the man who had always been true 
to her overcomes everything — and she marries the tailor. 
It was my wish, of course, to justify her in doing so, and 
to carry my readers along with me in my sympathy with 
her. But everybody found fault with me for marrying 
her to the tailor. What would they have said if I had 
allowed her to jilt the tailor and marry the good-looking 
young lord? How much louder, then, would have been 
the censure I The book was read, and I was satisfied! If 
I had not told my story well, there would have been no 
feeling in favor of the young lord. The horror which was 
expressed to me at the evil thing I had done^ in giving the 


girl to the tailor, was the strongest testimony I could re- 
ceive of the merits of the story. 

I went to Australia chiefly in order that I might see my 
son among his sheep. I did see him among his sheep, and 
remained with him for four or five very happy weeks. He 
was not making money, nor has he made money since. I 
grieve to say that several thousands of pounds which I 
had squeezed out of the pockets of perhaps too-liberal 
publishers have been lost on the venture. But I rejoice to 
shy that this has been in no way due to any fault of his. 
I never knew a man work with more persistent honesty at 
his trade than he has done. 

I had, however, the further intentions of writing a book 
about the entire group of Australasian colonies; and in 
order that I might be enabled to do that with sufficient 
information, I visited them all. Making my headquarters 
at Melbourne, I went to Queensland, New South Wales, 
Tasmania, then to the very little known territory of West- 
ern Australia, and then, last of all, to New Zealand. I 
was absent in all eighteen months, and think that I did 
succeed in learning much of the political, social, and 
material condition of these countries. I wrote my book 
as I was traveling, and brought it back with me to Eng- 
land all but completed in December, 1872. 

It was a better book than that which I had written 
eleven years before on the American States, but not so 
good as that on the West Indies, in 1859. As regards the 
information given, there was much more to be said about 
Australia than the West Indies. Very much more is said, 
and very much more may be learned from the latter than 
from the former book. I am sure that any one who will 
take the trouble to read the book on Australia will learn 
mnch from it. But the West Indian volume was readable. 
I am not sure that either of the other works are, in the 
proper sense of that word. When I go back to them I find 
that the pages drag with me; and if so with me, how must 


it be with others who have none of that love which a father 
feels even for his ill-favored offspring. Of all the needs a 
book has the chief need is that it be readable. 

Feeling that these volumes on Australia were dull and 
long, I was surprised to find that they had an extensive 
sale. There were, I think, 2000 copies circulated of the 
first expensive edition; and then the book was divided into 
four little volumes, which were published separately, and 
■which again had a considerable circulation. That some 
facts were stated inaccurately, I do not doubt; that many 
opinions were crude, I am quite sure; that I had failed to 
understand much which I attempted to explain, is possible. 
But with all these faults the book was a thoroughly honest 
book, and was the result of unflagging labor for a period 
of fifteen months. I spared myself no trouble in inquiry, 
no trouble in seeing, and no trouble in listening. I thor- 
oughly imbued my mind with the subject, and wrote with 
the simple intention of giving trustworthy information 
on the state of the Colonies. Though there be inaccura- 
cies — those inaccuracies to which work quickly done must 
always be subject — I think I did give much valuable in- 

I came home across America from San Francisco to New 
York, visiting Utah and Brigham Young on the way. I 
did not achieve great intimacy with the great polygamist 
of the Salt Lake City. I called upon him, sending to him 
my card, apologizing for doing so without an introduction, 
and excusing myself by saying that I did not like to pass 
through the territory without seeing a man of whom I had 
heard so much. He received me in his doorway, not ask- 
ing me to enter, and inquired whether I were not a miner. 
When I told him that I was not a miner, he asked me 
whether I earned my bread. I told him I did. " I guess 
you're a miner," said he. I again assured him that I was 
not. **Then how do you earn your bread?" I told him 
that I did so by writing books. " I'm sure you^*e a miner/' 



said he. Then he turned upon his heel, went back into the 
house, and closed the door. I was properly punished, as 
I was Tain enough to conceive that he would have heard 
my name. 

I got home in December, 1872, and in spite of any reso- 
lution made to the contrary, my mind was full of hunting 
as I came back. No real resolutions had, in truth, beei) 
made, for out of a stud of four horses I kept three, two 
of which were absolutely idle through the two summers 
and winter of my absence. Immediately on my arrival I 
bought another, and settled myself down to hunting from 
London three days a week. At first I went back to Essex, 
my old country," but finding that to be inconvenient, I 
took my horses to Leighton Buzzard, and became one of 
that numerous herd of sportsmen who rode with the 
"Baron" and Mr. Selby Lowndes. In those days Baron 
Meyer was alive, and the riding with his hounds was very 
good. I did not care so much for Mr. Lowndes. During 
the winters of 1873. 1874, and 1875 I had my horses back 
in Essex, and went on with my hunting, always trying to 
resolve that I would give it up. But still I bought fresh 
horses, and, as I did not give it up, I hunted more than 
ever. Three times a week the cab has been at my door in 
London very punctually, and not unfrequently before 
seven in the morning. In order to secure this attendance, 
the man has always been invited to have his breakfast in 
the hall. I have gone to the Great Eastern Railway— ah! 
BO often with the fear that frost would make all my exer- 
tions useless, and so often, too, with that result!— and 
then, from one station or another station, have traveled 
on wheels at least a dozen miles. After the day's sport, 
the same toil has been necessary to bring me home to din- 
ner at eight. This has been work for a young man and a 
rich man, but I have done it as an old man and compara- 
tively a poor man. Now at last, in April, 1876, 1 do think 
thftt my rwlutiou Uh been tekow, t m giving u.viiy my 


old horses^ and anybody is welcome to my saddles and 

" Singula de nobis anni prsedantur euntes; 
Elipuere jocos, venerem, convivia, ludum; 
Tendunt extorquere poemata." 

" Our years keep taking toll as they move on 
My feasts, my frolics, are already gone, 
And now, it seems, my verses must go too." 

This is Conington's translation, but it seems to me to be 
a little flat. 

** Years as they roll cut all our pleasures short; 
Our pleasant mirth, our loves, our wine, our sport. 
And then they stretch their power and crush at last. 
Even the power of singing of the past." 

I think that I may say with truth that I rode hard to 
my end. 

" Vixi puellis nuper idoneus, 
Et militavi non sine gloria; 
Nunc arma defunctiimque bello 
Barbiton hie paries habebit." 

" I've lived about the covert side. 

I've ridden straight, and ridden fast; 
Now breeches, boots, and scarlet pride 
Are but mementoes of the past." 



In what I have said at the end of the last chapter, 
about my hunting, I have been carried a little in advance 
of the date at which I had arrived. We returned from 
Australia in the winter of 1872, and eady in 1873 I took a 
house in Montagu Square — in which I hope to live and 
hope, to die. Our first work in settling there was to place 


upon new shelves the books which I had collected round 
myself at Waltham. And this work, which was in itself 
great, entailed also the labor of a new catalogue. As all 
who use libraries know, a catalogue is nothing unless it 
show the spot on which every book is to be found— in- 
formation which every volume also ought to give as to 
itself. Only those who have done it know how great is the 
labor of moving and arranging a few thousand volumes. 
At the present moment I own about 5000 volumes, and 
they are dearer to me even than the horses which are go- 
ing, or than the wine in the cellar, which is very apt to 
go, and upon which I also pride myself. 

When this was done, and the new furniture had got 
into its place, and my little book-room was settled suffi- 
ciently for work, I began a novel, to the writing of which 
I was instigated by what I conceived to be the commercial 
profligacy of the age. Whether the world does or does 
not become more wicked as years go on, is a question 
which probably has disturbed the minds of thinkers since 
the world began to think. That men have become less 
cruel, less violent, less selfish, less brutal, there can be no 
doubt; but have they become less honest? If so, can a 
world, retrograding from day to day in honesty, be con- 
sidered to be in a state of progress. We know the opinion 
on this subject of our philosopher Mr. Carlyle. If he be 
right, we are all going straight away to darkness and the 
dogs. But then we do not put very much faith in Mr. Car- 
lyle, nor in Mr. Ruskin, and his other followers. The 
loudness and extravagance of their lamentations, the wail- 
ing and gnashing of teeth which comes from them, over a 
world which is supposed to have gone altogether shoddy- 
wards, are so contrary to the convictions of men who can- 
not but see how comfort has been increased, how health 
has been improved, and education extended, that the 
general effect of their teaching is the opposite of what 
they haye intended. It is regarded simply us Carlylism to 


say that the Euglish-speaking world is growing worse 
from day to day. And it is Carlylism to opine that the 
general grand result of increased intelligence is a tendency 
to deterioration. 

Nevertheless a certain class of dishonesty — dishonesty 
magnificent in its proportions, and climbing into high 
places — has become at the same time so rampant and so 
splendid that there seems to be reason for fearing that 
men and women will be taught to feel that dishonesty, if 
it can become splendid, will cease to be abominable. If 
dishonesty can live in a gorgeous palace, with pictures on 
all its walls, and gems in all its cupboards, with marble 
and ivory in all its corners, and can give Apician dinners, 
and get into Parliament, and deal in millions, then dis- 
honesty is not disgraceful, and tlie man dishonest after 
such a fashion is not a low scoundrel.. Instigated, I say, 
by some such reflections as these, I sat down in my new 
house to write *' The Way We Live Now." And as I had 
ventured to take the whip of the satirist into my hand, I 
went beyond the iniquities of the great speculator who 
robs everybody, and made an onslaught also on other vices 
— on the intrigues of girls who want to get married, on 
the luxury of young men who prefer to remain single, and 
on the puflBng propensities of authors who desire to cheat 
the public into buying their volumes. 

The book has the fault which is to be attributed to 
almost all satires, whether in prose jot verse. The accu- 
sations are exaggerated, the vices are colored, so as to 
make effect rather than represent truth. Who, when the 
lash of objurgation is in his hands, can so moderate his 
arm as never to strike harder than justice would require? 
The spirit which produces the satire is honest enough, 
but the very desire which moves the satirist to do his work 
energetically makes him dishonest. In other respects 
" The Way We Live Now " was, as a satire, powerful 
and good. The character of Melmotte is well maintained, 



The bear-garden is amusing, and not untrue. The 
Longestaffe girls and their friend, Lady Monogram, are 
amusing, but exaggerated. Dolly Longestaffe is, I think, 
very good. And Lady Carbury's literary efforts are, I 
am sorry to say, such as are too frequently made. But 
here again the young lady with her two lovers is weak and 
vapid. I almost doubt whether it be not impossible to 
have two absolutely distinct parts in a novel, and to im- 
bue them both with iuterest. If they be distinct, the one 
will seem to be no more than padding to the other. And 
so it was in " The Way We Live Now." The interest of 
the story lies among the wicked and foolish people, with 
Melmotte and his daughter, with Dolly and his family, 
with the American woman, Mrs. Hurtle, and with John 
Crumb and the girl of his heart. But Koger Carbury, 
Paul Montague, and Henrietta Carbury are uninteresting. 
Upon the whole, I by no means look upon the book as 
one of my failures; nor was it taken as a failure by the 
public or the press. 

While I was writing **The Way We Live Now" I was 
called upon by the proprietors of the GrapJiic for a Christ- 
mas story. I feel, with regard to literature,, somewhat as 
I suppose an upholsterer and undertaker feels when he is 
called upon to supply a funeral. He has to supply it, 
however distasteful it may be. It is his business, and he 
will starve if he neglect it. So have I felt that, when any- 
thing in the shape of a novel was required, I was bound to 
, produce it. Nothing can be more distasteful to me than 
to have to give a relish of Christmas to what I write. I 
feel the humbug implied by the nature of the order. A 
Christmas story, in the proper sense, should be the ebul- 
lition of some inind anxious to instill others with a desire 
for Christmas religious thought, or Christmas festivities, 
or, better still, with Christmas charity. Such was the 
case with Dickens when he wrote "his first two Christmas 
stories. But since that the things written anDually—all 


of which have been fixed to Christmas like children's toys 
to a Christmas-tree — have had no real savor of Christmas 
about them. I had done two or three before. Alas! at 
this very moment I have one to write, which I haveprom- 
to supply within three weeks of this time — the picture- 
makers always requiring a long interval — as to which I 
have in vain been cudgeling my brain for the last month. 
I can't send away the order to another shop, but I do not 
know how I shall ever get the coffin made. 

For the Graphic, in 1873, I wrote a little story about 
Australia. Christmas at the antipodes is of course mid- 
summer, and I was not loath to describe the troubles to 
which my own son had been subjected, by the mingled 
accidents of heat and bod neighbors, on his station in the 
bush. So I wrote ** Harry Heathcote of Gangoil," and 
was well through my labor on that occasion. I only wish 
I may have no worse success in that which now hangs 
over my head. 

When '* Harry Heathcote " was over, I returned with a 
full heart to Lady Glencora and her husband. I had never 
yet drawn the completed picture of such a statesman as 
my imagination had conceived. The personages with 
whose names my pages had been familiar, and, perhaps, 
even the minds of some of my readers — the Brocks, De 
Terriers, Monks, Greshams, and Daubeneys — had been 
more or less portraits, not of living men, but of living 
political characters. The strong-minded, thick-skinned, 
useful, ordinary member, either of the Government or of 
the Opposition, had been very easy to describe, and had 
required no imagination to conceive. The character re- 
produces itself from generation to generation; and, as it 
does 80, becomes shorn in a wonderful way of those little 
touches of humanity which would be destructive of its 
purposes. Now and again there comes a burst of human 
nature, as in the quarrel between Burke and Fox; but, as 
a rule, the men submit themselves to be shaped and fash- 


ioned, and to be formed into tools, which are used either 
for building up or pulling down, and can generally bear to 
be changed from this box into the other, without, at any 
rate, the appearance of much personal suffering. Four- 
and-twenty gentlemen will amalgamate themselves into 
one whole, and work for one purpose, having each of them 
to set aside his own idiosyncrasy, and to endure the close 
pei'sonal contact of men who must often be personally dis- 
agreeable, having been thoroughly taught that in no other 
way can they serve either their country or their own am- 
bition. These are the men who are publicly useful, and 
whom the necessities of the age supply — as to whom I 
have never ceased to wonder that stones of such strong 
caliber should be so quickly worn down to the shape and 
smoothnees of rounded pebbles. 

Such have been to me the Brocks and the Mildmays, 
about whom I have written with great pleasure, having 
had my mind much exercised in watching them. But I 
had also conceived the character of a statesman of a dif- 
ferent nature — of a man who should be in something, per- 
haps, superior, but in very much inferior, to these men; 
of one who could not become a pebble, having too strong 
an identity of his own. To rid one's self of fine scruples 
— to fall into the traditions of a party — to feel the need of 
subservience, not only in acting, but also, even, in think- 
ing — to be able to be a bit, and at first only a very little 
bit — these are the necessities of the growing statesman. 
The time may come, the glorious time, when some great 
self-action shall be possible, and shall be even demanded 
— as when Peel gave up the Corn Laws; but the rising 
man, as he puts on his harness, should not allow himself 
to dream of this. To become a good, round, smooth, hard, 
useful pebble is his duty; and to achieve this he must 
harden his skin and swallow his scruples. But every now 
and again we see the attempt made by men who cannot get 
their akins to be hard, who, after a little while^ generally 


fall out of the ranks. The statesman of whom I was 
thinking — of whom I had long thought — was one who did 
not fall out of the ranks, even though his skin would not 
become hard. He should have rankand intellect and par- 
liamentary habits, by which to bind him to the service of his 
country; and he should also have unblemished, unextin- 
guishable, inexhaustible love of country. That virtue I 
attribute to our statesmen generally. They who are with- 
out it are, I think, mean indeed. This man should have 
it as tlie ruling principle of his life; and it should so rule 
him that all other things should be made to give way to 
it. But he should be scrupulous, and, being scrupulous, 

When called to the highest place in the council of 
his sovereign, iie should feel with true modesty his own 
insuflQciency; but not the less should the greed of power 
grow upon him when he had once allowed himself to taste 
and enjoy it. Such was the character I endeavored to de- 
pict in describing the triumph, the troubles, and the fail- 
ure of my Prime Minister, And I think that I have suc- 
ceeded. What the public may think, or what the press 
may say, I do not yet know, the work having, as yet, run 
but half its course.* 

That the man's character should be understood as I un- 
derstand it — or that of his wife, the delineation of which 
has also been a matter of much happy care to me — I have 
no right to expect, seeing that the operation of describing 
has not been confined to one novel, which might, perhaps, 
be readthrough by the majority of those who commenced 

♦ Writing this note in 1878, after a lapse of nearly three years, I 
am oblipred to say that, as regards the public, " The Prime Minister " 
■was a failure. It was worse spoken of by the press than any novel I 
had written. T was specially hurt by a criticism on it in the Spect.a- 
t<yr. The critic who wrote the article I know to be a good critic, in- 
clined to be more than fair to mo; but in this case I could not agree 
with him, so much do 1 love the man whose character I hftd en« 
d(^4vorecl to portray. 


it. It has been carried on through three or four, each of 
which will be forgotten, even by the most zealous reader, 
almost as soon as read. In " The Prime Minister," my 
Prime Minister will not allow his wife to take oflBce among, 
or even over, those ladies who are attached by office to the 
queen's court. ** I should not choose," he says to her, 
"that my wife should have any duties unconnected with 
our joint family and home." Who will remember in read- 
ing those words that, in a former story, published some 
years before, he tells his wife, when she has twitted him 
with his willingness to clean the Premier's shoes, that he 
would even allow her to clean them if it were for the good 
of the country? And yet it is by such details as these 
that I have, for many years past, been manufacturing 
within my own mind the characters of the man and his 

I think that Plantagenet Palliser, Duke of Omnium, is 
a perfect gentleman. If he be not, then am I unable to 
describe a gentleman. She is by no means a perfect lady; 
but if she be not all over a woman, then am I not able to 
describe a woman. I do not think it probable that my 
name will remain among those who in the next century 
will be known as the writers of English prose fiction; but 
if it does, that permanence of success will probably rest on 
the character of Plantagenet Palliser, Lady Glencora, and 
the Rev. Mr. Crawley, 

I have now come to the end of that long series of books 
written by myself, with which the public is already ac- 
quainted. Of those which I may hereafter be able to add 
to them I cannot speak; though I have an idea that I shall 
even yet once more have recourse to my political hero as 
the mainstay of another story. When "The Prime Min- 
ister" was finished I at once began another novel, which 
ia now completed, in three volumes, and which is called 
^*l8 He Popenjoy?" Thore are two Popenjoys in the 
booki oue succeeding to the title held b^ the other; but aa 


they are both babies, and do not in the course of the story 
progress beyond babyhood, the future readers, should the 
tale ever be published, will not be much interested in 
them. Nevertheless the story, as a story, is not, I think, 
amiss. Since that I have written still another three- 
volume novel, to which, very much in opposition to my 
publisher, I have given the name of ^^The American 
Senator.'* ''• It is to appear in Temple Bar, and is to com- 
mence its appearance on the first of next month. Such 
being its circumstances, I do not know that I can say any- 
thing else about it here. 

And so I end the record of my literary performances, 
which 1 think are more in amount than the works of any 
other living English author. If any English authors not 
living have written more — as may probably have been the 
case — I do not know who they are. I find that, taking 
the books which have appeared under our names, I have 
published much more than twice as much as Carlyle. I 
have also published considerably more than Voltaire, even 
including his letters. We are told that Varro, at the age 
of eighty, had written 480 volumes, and that he went on 
writing for eight years longer. I wish I knew what was 
the length of Varro*s volumes; I eomfoi-t myself by reflect- 
ing that the amount of manuscript described as a book in 
Varro*s time was not much. Varro, too, is dead, and 
Voltaire; whereas I am still living, and may add to the 

The following is a list of the books I have written, with 
the dates of publication and the sums I have received for 
them. The dates given are the years in which the works 
were published as a whole, most of them having appeared 
before in some serial form. 

* " The American Senator" and " Popenjoy "have appeared, each 
with fair success. Neither of them has encountered that reproach 
which, in regard to "The Prime Minister," seemed to tell me that 
my work as a novelist should be brought to a close. And yet 1 feel 
asBured that tliey are very inferior to " The Prime Minister. 


Names of Works. Pu?hSti^^n. 

The Macdermots of Ballycloran 1847 

The Kellys and the O'Kellys 1848 

La Vendee 1850 

The Warden 1855 

Barchester Towers 1857 

The Three Clerks 1858 

Doctor Thorne 1858 

The West Indies and the Spanish Main 1859 

The Bertrams 1859 

Castle Richmond : 1860 

Framlev Parsonage 1861 

Tales of All Countries— 1st Series 1861 

2d " 1863 

3d " 1870 

Orley Farm 1863 

North America 1862 

Rachel Ray 1863 

The Small House at Allington 1864 

Can You Forgive Her? 1864 

Miss Mackenzie 1865 

The Belton Estate 1866 

The Claverings 1867 

The Last Chronicle of Barset 1867 

Nina Balatka 1867 

Linda Tressel 1868 

fhineas Finn 1869 

He Knew He Was Right 1869 

Brown, Jones, and Robinson 1870 

The Vicar of BuUhampton 1870 

An Editor's Tales 1870 

Caesar (Ancient Classics) 1870* 

Str Harry Hotspur of Humblelhwaite 1871 

Ralph the Heir 1871 

The Golden Lion of Granp^re 1872 

The Eustace Diamonds 1873 

Australia and New Zealand 1873 

Phineas Redux 1874 

Harry Heathcote of Gangoil 1874 

Lady Anna 1874 

The Way We Live Now 1875 

The Prime Minister 1876 

The American Senator 1877 

Is He Popenjoy? 1878 

South Africa 1878 

John Caldigate 1879 


* Tliis was given by me as a present to my friend John Blackwood. 

Total Sums 




123 19 6 


727 11 3 










































£68,989 17 5 


It will not, I am sure, be thought that, in making my 
boast as to quantity, I have endeavored to lay claim to any 
literary excellence. That, in the writing of books, quan- 
tity without quality is a vice and a misfortune, has been 
too manifestly settled to leave a doubt on such a mat- 

But I do lay claim to whatever merit should be accorded 
to me for persevering diligence in my profession. And I 
make the claim, not with a view to my own glory, but for 
the benefit of those who may read these pages, and when 
young may intend to follow the same career. Nulla dies 
sine lined. Let that be their motto. And let their work 
be to them as is his common work to the common laborer. 
No gigantic efforts will then be necessary. He need tie 
no wet towels round his brow, nor sit for thirty hours at 
his desk without moving — as men have sat, or said that 
they have sat. More than nine tenths of my literary 
work has been done in the last twenty years, and 
during tv/elve of those years I followed another profes- 

I have never been a slave to this work, giving due time, if 
not more than due time, to the amusements T have loved. 
But I have been constant— and constancy in labor will 
conquer all difficulties. Outta cavat lapidem non vi, sed 
s(Bpe cadendo. 

It may interest some if I state that during the last 
twenty years I have made by literature something near 
£70,000. As I have said before in these pages, I look 
upon the result as comfortable, but not splendid. 

It will not, I trust, be supposed by any reader that I 
have intended in this so-called autobiography to give a 
record of my inner life. No man ever did so truly—and 
no man ever will. Rousseau probably attempted it, but 
who doubts but that Rousseau has confessed in much the 
thoughts and convictions rather than the facts of hia 


If the rustle of a woman's petticoat has ever stirred my 
blood; if a cup of wine has been a joy to me; if I have 
thought tobacco at midnight in pleasant company. to be 
one of the elements of an earthly paradise; if now and 
again I have somewhat recklessly fluttered a £5 note over 
a card table; of what matter is that to any reader? J have 
betrayed no woman. Wine has brought me to no sorrow. 
It has been the companionship of smoking that I have 
loved, rather than the habit. I have never desired to win 
money, and I have lost none. To enjoy the excitement 
of pleasure, but to be free from its vices and ill effects— to 
have the sweet, and leave the bitter untasted— that has 
been my study. 

The preachers tell us that this is impossible. It 
seems to me that hitherto I have succeeded fairly well. 
I will not say that I have never scorched a finger— but I 
carry no ugly wounds. 

For what remains to me of life I trust for my happiness 
still chiefly to my work— hoping, that when the power of 
work be over with me, God may be pleased to take me 
from a world in which, according to my view, there can be 
no joy; secondly, to the love of those who love me; and 
then, to my books. That I can read, and be happy while 
I am reading, is a great blessing. Could I remember, as 
some men do, what I read, I should have been able to call 
myself an educated man. But that power I have never 
possessed. Something is always left— something dim and 
inaccurate— but still something sufficient to preserve the 
taste for more. I am inclined to think that it is so with 
most readers. 

Of late years, putting aside the Latin classics, I have 
found my greatest pleasure in our old English dramatists 
—not from any excessive love of their work, which often 
irritates me by its want of truth to nature, even while it 
shames me by its language— but from curiosity in search- 
ing their plots and examining their character. If I live a 


few years longer, I shall, I think, leave, in my copies of 
these dramatists, down to the close of James I., written 
criticisms on every play. No one who has not looked 
closely into it knows how many there are. 

Now I stretch out my hand, and from the further shore 
I bid adieu to all who have cared to read any among the 
many words that I have written. 


p. O. Box 3751. 

The Se aside L ibrary. 


GEORGE MUNRO, Publisher, 

»x 3751. 17 to «7 Vandewater Street, New YorK. 

The foUowin^ works contained in The Seaside LrBRAKTOr^^^^^^^ 
are for sale by all newsdea ers, or will ^^J^.^^f^^fs^o? doutle lumbers, by the 


30 Her Dearest Foe 20 

36 The Wooing O't 20 

46 The Heritage of LaDgdale ^q 

370 Ralph Wilton's Weird 20 

400 Which Shall it Be? ;^q 

532 Maid. Wife, or Widow? 20 

1231 The Freres 10 

1259 Valerie's Fate 20 

1391 Look Before You Leap ^0 

1502 The Australian Aunt 2q 

1595 The Admiral's Ward 


13 A Princess of Thule . q 

28 A Daughter of Heth .^ 

47 In Silk Attire • • • '^' '\ 10 

48 The Strange Adventures of a Phaeton J^ 

51 Kilmeny ;'/-v 10 

53 The Monarch of Mincing Lane Jf 

79 Madcap Violet (small type) ^ 

604 Madcap Violet (large type) :?JJ 

242 The Three Feathers ,*;:,:.•' V/ -J* "*' Vf-ii "^^' in 

390 The Marriage of Moira Fergus, and The Maid of Killeena. 10 

417 Macleod of Dare "l^ 

451 Lady Silverdale's Sweetheart :|J: 

668 Green Pastures and Piccadilly |" 

816 White Wings: A Yachting Romance |^. 

826 Oliver Goldsmith Xfi 

950 Sunrise: A Story of These Times ^^ 

1025 The Pupil of Aurelius :j^ 

1082 That Beautiful Wretch fj 

1161 The Four MacNicols •/ ' VV- \"; * ' i ift 

1264 Mr. Pisislratus Brown. M.P.. m the Highlands^ . . ... .... lU 

1429 An Adventure in Thule. A Story for Yt>ung Peojile 10^ 

1656 Shandon Bells JJ 

1688 Yolande »».........,.,»•••• ^ 

n THE SEASWE LIBRARY.— Or dincvry Bdttion, 

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396 Jane Eyre (in bold, handsome type) 20 

162 Shirlev 20 

311 The Professor 10 

329 Wuthcring Heights 10 

438 Villette 20 

967 The Tenant of Wildfell Hall 20 

1098 Agnes G rey 20 


26 Aurora Floyd 20 

69 To the Bitter End 20 

89 The Lovels of Ardea 20 

95 Dead Men's Shoes 20 

109 Eleanor's Victory 20 

114 Darrell Markham 10 

i40 The Lady Lisle 10 

171 Hostages to Fortune 20 

190 Henry Dunbar 20 

215 Birds of Prey 20 

235 An Open Verdict,. 20 

251 Lady Audley's Secret 20 

254 The Octoroon 10 

260 Charlotte's Inheritance 20 

287 Leightnn Grange 10 

295 Lost for Love 20 

322 Dead-Sea Fruit 20 

459 The Doctor's Wife 20 

469 Rupert Godwin 20 

481 Vixen 20 

482 The Cloven Foot 20 

500 Joshua Haggard's Daughter 20 

519 Weavers and Weft 10 

525 Sir Jasper's Tenant 20 

539 A Strange World : 2(1 

550 Fenton's Quest 20 

562 John Marchmont's Legacy 2(3 

572 The Lady's Mile 2C 

579 Strangers and Pilgrims x:0 

581 Only a Woman (Edited by Miss M. E. Braddon) 2C 

619 Taken at the Flood 20' 

641 Only a Clod 20 

649 Publicans and Sinners 20 

656 George Caultield's Journey 10 

665 The Shildow in the Corner 10 

666 Bound to John Company; or, Robert Ainsleigh 20 

701 Barbara ; or, Splendid Ml'sery 20 

705 Put to the Test (Edited by Miss M. E. Braddon) 20 

734 Diavola: or. Nobody's Daughter. Part 1 20 

m nuvolft; or, NoVPfif ^ Daughter. Part II . . 80 

TEE SEASIDE LlBBABT.^ Ordinary Edition. m 

MISS M. E. BRADDON'S WORKS.— Continuea. 

811 Dudley Carleon 10 

828 The Fatal Marriage 10 

837 Just as I Am; or, A Living Lie 20 

942 Asphodel 20 

1154 The Misletoe Bough 20 

1265 Mount Royal 20 

1469 Flower and Weed 10 

1553 The Golden Calf 20 

1638 Married in Haste (Edited by Miss M. E. Braddon) 20 


186 " Good-Bye, Sweetheart " 10 

269 Red as a Rose is She 20 

285 Cometh Up as a Flower 10 

402 "Not Wisely, But Too Well" 20 

458 Nancy 20 

526 Joan 20 

762 Second Thoughts 20 


10 The Woman in White 20 

14 The Dead Secret 20 

22 Man and Wife ,....: 20 

32 The Queen of Hearts 20 

88 Antonina 20 

42 Hide-and-Seek 20 

76 The New Magdalen 10 

94 The Law and The Lady 20 

180 Armadale 20 

191 My Lady's Money 10 

225 The Two Destinies 1(^ 

250 No Name 20 

286 After Dark 10 

409 The Haunted Hotel 10 

433 A Shocking Story 10 

487 A Rogue's Life 10 

551 The Yellow Mask 10 

583 Fallen Leaves 20 

654 Poor Miss Finch 20 

675 The Moonstone 20 

696 Jezebel's Daughter 20 

713 The Captain's Last Love 10 

721 Basil 20 

745 The Magic Spectacles 10 

905 Duel In Heme Wood 10 

928 Who Killed Zebedee? 10 

971 The Frozen Deep 10 

990 The Black Robe 20 

1164 Your Money or Your Life 10 

^644 Heart and Science. A Story of the Present Time 20 

IV T3E SEASIDE LTBBART.—Ordina/ny SdUion. 


222 Last of the Mobicans 20 

224 The Deerslayer 20 

226 The Pathfinder -. 2(1 

229 The Pioneers 20 

231 The Prairie 20 

233 Tlie Pilot 20 

685 The Water- Witch 20 

590 The Two Admirals 20 

615 The Ked Rover 20 

761 WingandWing *. 20 

940 The Spy 20 

1066 Tiie Wyandotte 20 

1257 Afloat and Ashore 20 

1262 Miles Walliugford (Seq'iel to "Afloat and Ashore") 20 

1569 The Headsman ; or. The Abbaye des Vignerons 20 

1605 TheMonikins 20 

1661 The Heidenmauer; or, The Benedictines. A Legend of 

the Rhine 20 

1691 The Crater; or, Vulcan's Peak. A Tale of the Pacific 20 


20 The Old Curiosity Shop 20 

100 A Tale of Two Cities 20 

102 Hard Times 10 

118 Great Expectations 20 

187 David Copperfield 20 

200 Nicholas Nickleby 20 

213 Barnaby Rudge 20 

218 Dorabey and Son 20 

239 No Thoroughfare (Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins) 10 

247 Martin Cljuzzlewit 20 

272 The Cricket on the Hearth 10 

284 Oliver Twist 20 

289 A Christmas Carol 10 

297 The Haunted Man 10 

804 Little Dorrit 20 

308 The Chimes 10 

817 The Battle of Life 10 

825 Our Mutual Friend 20 

337 Bleak House 20 

852 Pickwick Papers 20 

359 Somebody's Luggage JO 

867 Mrs. Lirripcr's Lodgings 10 

372 Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices 10 

875 Mugby Junction 10 

403 Tom Tiddler's Ground 10 

498 The Uncommercial Traveler 20 

621 Master Humphrey's Clock 10 

626 Sketches by Boz 20 

639 Sketches of Young Couples 10 

827 TheMudfog Papers, &c 10 

TME SEASIDE LIBBAIi T.-'Ordinary Edition. l 

■ -ii -■■■ ■ .. ■ 


160 The Mvstery of Edwin Drood 20 

900 Pictures From Italy 10 

an A Child's History of England 20 

1464 The Picnic Papers k 20 

1568 Three Detective Anecdotes, and Other Sketches 10 

1682 The Plays and Poems of Charles Dickens, with a few Miscel- 
• lanies in Prose, now First Collected. Edited, Prefaced, 
and Annotated by Richard Heme Shepherd. First half. 20 
1682 The Plays and Poems of Cliarles Dickens, with a few Mis- 
cellanies in Prose, now First Collected. Edited, Pref- 
aced, and Annotated by Richard Heme Shepherd. Sec- 
ond half ; 20 


449 More Bitter than Death 10 

618 Madolin's Lover 20 

656 A Golden Dawn 10 

678 A Dead Heart 10 

718 Lord Lynne's Choice; or, True Love Never Runs Smooth. 10 

746 Which Loved Him Best 20 

846 Dora Thorne 20 

•921 At War with Herself 10 

931 The Sin of a Lifetime 20 

1013 Lady Gwendoline's Dream . 10 

1018 Wife in Name Only 20 

1044 Like No Other Love 10 

1060 A Woman's War 10 

1072 Hilary's Folly 10 

1074 A Queen Amongst Women 10 

1077AGilded Sin 10 

1081 ABridgeof Love 10 

1085 The Fatal Lilies 10 

1099 Wedded and Parted 10 

1107 A Bride From thp Sea 10 

1110 A Rose in Thorn*.. . > 10 

1115 The Shadow of a Sin 10 

1122 Redeemed by Love 10 

1126 The Stoity of a Wedding Ring iO 

1127 Love's Warfare 20 

1182 Repented at Leisure 20 

1179 From Gloom to Sunlight 20 

1209 Hilda 20 

1218 A Golden Heart 20 

1266 Ingledew House 10 

1288 A Broken Wedding-Ring 20 

1806 Love For a Day ; or, Under the Lilacs 10 

1867 The Wife's Secret 10 

1893 Two Kisses 10 

1460 Between Two Sins 10 

1640 The Cost of Her Love 20 

1064 Romance of a Black Veil 20 

Tt THE SEASIDE LIBRAR Y. — Ordina/ry Edition. 


S58 Phyllis (small type) .' 10 

689 Phyllis (large type) 20 

393 Molly Bawn 20 

446 The Baby '. 10 

499 "Airy Fairy Lilian " 20 

771 Beauty's Daughters 20 

855 How Snooks Got Out of It 10 

1010 Mrs. Geoffrey 20 

1169 Faith and Unfaith : 20 

1518 Portia; or, " By Passions Rocked." 20 

1587 Monica, and A Rose Distill'd 10 

1666 Loys, Lord Berresf ord, and Other Tales 20 


144 The Twin Lieutenants 10 

151 The Russian Gipsy 10 

155 The Count of Monte Cristo (Quadruple Number) 40 

160 The Black Tulip 10 

167 The Queen's Necklace 20 

172 The Chevalier de Maison Rouge 20 

184 The Countess de Charny 20 

188 Nanon 10 

193 Joseph Balsarao; or, Memoirs of a Physician 20 

194 The Conspirators 10 

198 Isabel of Bavaria 10 

201 Catherine Blum 10 

223 Beau Tancrede; or. The Marriage Verdict (small type) 10 

997 Beau Tancrede; or, The Marriage Verdict (large type) 20 

228 The Regent's Daughter 10 

244 The Three Guardsmen 20 

268 The Forty-five Guardsmen 20 

276 The Page of the Duke of Savoy 10 

278 Six Tears Later ; or. Taking the Bastile 20 

283 Twenty Years After 20 

298 Captain Paul 10 

306 Three Strong Men 10 

318 Ingenue 10 

331 Adventures of a Marquis. First half 20 

331 Adventures of a Marquis. Second half 20 

342 The Mohicans of Paris. Vol. I. (small type) 10 

1565 The Mohicans of Paris. Vol. I. (large type) 20 

1565 The Mohicans of Paris. Vol. II. (large type) 20 

1565 The Mohicans of Paris. Vol. III. (large type) 20 

1565 The Mohicans of Paris. Vol. IV. (large type) 20 

844 Ascanio 10 

608 The Watchmaker 20 

616 The Two Dianas 20 

622 Andree de Taverney 20 

664 Vicomte de Bragelonne (1st Series) 20 

864 Vicomte de Bragelonne (2d Series). . .^. 30 

THE SEASIDE LIBRlRT.—Ordina/ry Edition. vn 


664 Vicomte de Bragelonne (3d Series) 20 

664 Vicomte de Bragelonne (4tli Series) 20 

688 Chicot, the Jester 20 

849 Doctor Basilius 20 

1452 Salvator: Being the continuation and conclusion of "The 

Mohicans of Paris." Vol. 1 20 

1452 Salvator: Being the continuation and conclusion of " The 

Mohicans of Paris." Vol.11 20 

1452 Salvator: Being the continuation and conclusion of " The 

Mohicans of Paris." Vol. Ill 20 

1452 Salvator: Being the continuation and conclusion of " The 

Mohicans of Paris. "- Vol. IV 20 

1452 Salvator: Being the continuation and conclusion of "The 

Mohicans of Paris." Vol. V 20 

1561 The Corsican Brothers 10 

1592 Marguerite de Valois. An Historical Romance 20 


712 Uarda: A Romance of Ancient Egypt 20 

756 Homo Sum 10 

812 An Egyptian Princess 20 

880 The Sisters 20 

1120 The Emperor 20 

1397 The Burgomaster's Wife. A Tale of the Siege of Leyden. 20 
1594 Only a Word 20 


7 Adam Bede 20 

11 The Mill on the Floss (small type) 10 

941 The Mill on the Floss (large type) 20 

15 Romola 20 

35 Felix Holt, the Radical 20 

58 Silas Marner 10 

70 Middlemarch 20 

80 Daniel Deronda 20 

202 Mr. Gilfil's Love Story 10 

217 Sad Fortunes of Rev. Amos Barton 10 

277 Brother Jacob 10 

309 Janet's Repentance 10 

527 Impressions of Theophrastus Such 10 

1276 The Spanish Gypsy: A Poem 20 


895 Fair Women 20 

481 Diana Car«w ; ao 

474 Viva 20 

504 Rbona 20 

nn THE 8EASIBE LIBRARY.— Or diria/ry Edition, 


638 A YouDg Man's Fancy 10 

556 Miguon JiO 

573 The Turn of Fortune's Wheel 10 

600 Dolores 20 

620 In a Country House 10 

632 Queen Elizabeth's Garden IC 

858 Roy and Viola 2C 

894 My Hero 

1163 My Lord and My Lady 

1471 1 Have Lived and Loved 20 

1588 From Olympus to Hades 20 


408 File No. 113 *. 20 

465 Monsieur Lecoq. First half 20 

465 Monsieur Lecoq. Second half 20 

476 The Slaves of Paris. First half 20 

476 The Slaves of Paris. Second half 20 

490 Marriage at a Venture 10 

494 The Mystery of Orcival 20 

501 Other People's Money 20 

509 Within an Inch of His Life 20 

515 The Widow Leroujre 20 

523 The Clique of Gold 20 

671 The Count's Secret. Part 1 20 

671 The Count's Secret. Part II 20 

704 Captain Contanceau ; or, The Volunteers of 1792 10 

741 The Downward Path; or. A House Built on Sand (La 

Degringolade ). Part I 20 

741 The Downward Path; or, A House Built on Sand (La 

Degringolade ). Part II 20 

758 The LiitleOld Man of the BatignoUes 10 

778 The Men of the Bureau 10 

789 Promises of Marriage 10 

813 The 13th Hussars 10 

834 A Thousand Francs Reward 10 

899 Max's Marriage ; or, The Vicomte's Choice 10 

1184 The Marquise de Brinvilliers 20 


8 The Arundel Motto 10 

407 The Arundel Motto (in large type) 20 

9 Old Myddclton's Money 10 

427 Old Myildelton's Money (in huge type) 20 

17 Hidden Perils TO 

484 HiddAi Perils (in large type) 20 

28 The Squire's Legacy 10 

616 The Squire's Legacy (in large type). 2| 

THE SEASIDE LTBBAnT—Ordirut/ry Edition. 


27 Victor and Vanquished ~J 

29 Nora's Love Test ^^ 

421 Nora's Love Test (in large type) :*" 

275 A Shadow on the Threshold tri 

363 Reaping the Whirlwind *- :[^ 

384 Back to the Old Home tTi 

415 A Dark Inheritance /;• T'^' '• -.T 'iVw-ii in 

440 The Sorrow of a Secret, and Lady Carmichael s Will lu 

686 Brenda Yorke J" 

724 For Her Dear Sake tri 

852 Missing ri 

855 Dolfs Big Brother •••"'■ A' ; in 

980 In the Holidays, and The Name Cat on a Gale iJJ 

935 Under Life's Key, and Other Stories • -J^ 

972 Into the Shade, and Other Stories *^ 

1011 MvFirst Offer -•••a:; in 

1014 Told in New England, and Other 1 ales ^^ 

1016 At the Seaside; or, A Sister's Sacrifice ^ 

1220 Dorothy's Venture 'zi. 

1221 Among the Ruins, and Other Stones ;[" 

1431 " A Little Aversion " ]}{ 

1549 Bid Me Discourse 


492 Tom Brown's Schooldays at Rugby 20 

698 The Manliness of Christ jJJ 

640 Tom Brown at Oxford ^J: 

1041 Rugby— Tennessee ^^ 


98 Harry Lorrequer *^ 

132 Jack Hinton, the Guardsman -JJ 

137 A.Rent in a Cloud 'r;.' : \" -ir " \" \ -a 

146 Charles O'^Malley, the Irish Dragoon (Triple Number) oO 

152 Arthur O'Leary f 

^68 Con Cregan ;^ 

169 St. Patrick's Eve ^ 

174 Kate O'Donoghue fj^ 

257 That Boy of Norcott's. . ...•••. i" 

296 Tom Burke of Ours. First half ^ 

296 Tom Burke of Ours. Second half jJJ 

319 Davenport Dunn. First half ^ 

319 Davenport Dunn. Second half jjj 

464 Gerald Fitzgerald ^5^ 

470 The Fortunes of Qlencore -^ 

629 Lord Kilgobbin ^ 

646 Maurice Tiernay '^ 

666 A Day's Ride ^^ 

T THE SEASIDE LIBRARY.— Or dimry Edition. 

^ — • ^ , 


609 Barrington 20 

633 Sir Jasper Caiew, Knight 20 

657 The Martins of Cro' Martin. Part 1 20 

657 The Martins of Cro' Martin. Part II 20 

822 Tony Butler 20 

872 Luttrell of Arran. Part 1 20 

872 Luttrell of Arran. Part II 20 

951 Paul Gosslett's Confessions 10 

965 One of Them. First half 20 

965 One of Them. Second half 20 

989 Sir Brook Fossbrooke. Part 1 20 

989 Sir Brook Fossbrooke. Part II 20 

1235 The Bramleighs of Bishoo's Folly 20 

1309 The Dodd Family Abroad. First half ' 20 

1309 The Dodd Family Abroad. Second half 20 

1342 Horace Templeton 20 

1394 Roland Cashel. First half XO 

1394 Roland Cashel. Second half 20 

1496 The Daltons; or, Three Roads m Life. First half 20 

1496 The Daltons; or, Three Roads in Life. Second half 20 


33 Handy Andy 20 

66 Rory O'More 20 

123 Irish Legends 10 

158 He Would be a Gentleman 20 

293 Tom Crosbie 10 


6 The Last Days of Pompeii *. 20 

587 Zanoni i20 

689 Pilgrims of the Rhine • 10 

714 Leila; or. The Siege of Grenada 10 

781 Rienzi, The Last of the Tribunes CO 

955 Eugene Aram ^ ) 

979 Ernest Maltravers 20 

tool Alice; or, The Mysteries *^^ » 

1064 The Caxtons '^0 

1089 My Novel. First half '0 

1089 My Novel Second half ;:'0 

1205 Kenelm Chillingly: His Adventures and Opinions. 20 

1316 Pelham ; or, The Adventures of a Gentleman 'JO 

1454 The Last of the Barons. First half 20 

1454 The Last of the Barons. Second half ^ :lH) 

1529 A Strantre Story W 20 

1690 What Will He Do With It? First half. . .l<^ 20 

1690 What Will He Do With It? Second half, . . T.', ,'. *, r.,\t. 30 

The Seaside liibpary. 



1 Yolande. By William Black siO 

2 Mollv Bavvn. B7 "The Duchess".... 20 

3 The Mill OQ the Floss. Bv Geori?e Eliot 20 

4 Under Two Flags. B}- *• Ouida " 20 

5 Admiral's Ward. By Mrs. Alexander.. 20 

6 Portia. Bs'-The Duchess" 20 

7 File No. 113. B.y Emile Gaboriau 20 

8 East Lynne. Bv Mrs. Henrv Wood. ... 2i) 

9 Wanda. Bv • Ouida " ' ... 20 

10 The Old Ciiriositv Shop. By Dickens. 20 

11 Joha Halifax, Gentleman. By Miss 

Mulock 20 

12 Other Peoples 31 .aev. By Gaboriau. 2G 

13 Eyres Acquittal. Bv Helen B. Mathers 10 

14 Airy Fairv hiliaa. Bv "The Duchess " 20 

15 Jane Eyre. Bv Cuariotte Brout6 20 

16 Phyllis. By " The Duchess " 20 

17 The Wooin? Ot 3v Mrs. Alexander. .. 20 

18 Shandon Balls By William Black ... 20 

19 Her Mothers Sin. By the Author of 

" Dora Thome " 20 

30 Within au Inch of His Life. By Emile 

Gaboriau 20 

21 Sunrise. Bv William Black 20 

22 David Opperfield. Dickens. Vol.1.. 20 

22 David Copperfleld. Dickens. Vol. II. 20 

23 A Princess of Thuie. By William Black 20 
34 Pickwick Papers. Dickens. Vol.1... 20 
34 Pickwick Papers. Dickens. Vol.11.. 20 

25 Mrs. Geoflfrey. By " The Duche.-s "... 20 

26 Monsieur Lecoq. Bv Gaboriau. Vol. I 20 

26 Monsieur Lecoq, By Gaboriau. Vol.11. 20 

27 Vanity Fair. Bv William M. Thackeray 20 

28 Ivanhoe. Bv Sir Walter Scott 20 

29 Beautv's Daughters. By " The Duch- 

ess " 20 

30 Faith and Unfaith. Bv " The Duchess " 20 

31 Middlemarch. By George Eliot 20 

83 The Clique of Gold. Bv Emile Gaboriau 20 

34 D.iniel D^ronda By George Eliot ... 30 

35 L idv .\udley's Secret. By M. E. 

Brad.lon 20 

36 Adam Bede Bv George Eliot 20 

87 Nicholas Nicklebv. By Charles Dickens 30 

38 The Widow Lerouge. By Gaboriau.. 20 

39 In Silk Attire. Bv William Black 20 

40 The Last Davs of Pompeii. By Sir E. 

Bulwer Lytton 20 

41 Oliver Twist. Bv Charles Dickens. . . . 20 

42 Romola. By George Eliot 20 

48 The Mystery of Orcival. By Emile 

Gaboriau 20 

44 Macleod of Dare. By William Black. . 20 
46 A Little Pilgrim. By Mrs. Oliphant. . . 10 

46 Very Hard Cash. By Charles Reade. . 20 

47 Altiora Peto. By Laurence Oliphant. . 20 

48 Thicker Than Water. By James Pay n. 20 

49 That Beautiful Wretch. By William 

Black 2o 


50 The Strange Adventures of a Phaeton. 

By William Black 20 

51 Dora Thorne. By the Author of " Her 

Mothers Sin " 20 

52 The New Magdalen. Bv Wilkie Collins 20 

53 The Story of Ida. By ^raocesca 10 

54 A Broken Wedding Ring. By the Au- 

thor of " Dora Thorne " 20 

55 The Three Guardsmen. By Dumas... 20 

56 Phantom Fortune. By Miss M. E. 

Braddon 20 

57 Shirley. By Charlotte Bront6 20 

58 By the Gate of the Sea. By David 

10 I 

Christie Murray 

.59 Vice Versa. By F. Anstey 

60 The Last of the Mohicans. Cooper. . . 20 

61 Charlotte Temple. By Mrs. Rowson. . 10 

62 The Executor. By Mrs. Alexander. . . 20 

63 The Spy. Bv J. Penimore Cooper 20 

64 A Maiden Fair. By Charles Gibbon. . . 10 

65 Back to the Old Home. By Mary Cecil 
Hay 10 

66 The Romance of a Poor Young Man. 
By Octave Feuillet 10 

67 Loma Doone. 3y R D. Blackmore. . . 30 

68 A Queen Amongst Women, By the 
Author of " Dora Thorne " 10 

69 Madolin's Lover. By the Author of 
"Dora Thorne' 20 

70 White Wings. By William Black 20 

71 A Struggle for Fame. By Mrs. J. H. 
Bidden 20 

72 Old Myddeiton's Money. By Mary. 
Cecil Hay 20 

73 Redeemed by Love. By the Author of 
" Dora Thorne " 20 

74 Aurora Floyd. By Miss M. E. Braddon 20 

75 Twenty Years After. By Dumas — 20 

76 Wife in Name Only. By the Author of 
" Dora Thorne " 2( 

77 A Tale of Two Cities. By Dickens 2i 

78 Madcap Violet. By William Black.... 20 

79 Wedded and Parted. By the Author .1 
of •' Dora Thorne " IC j 

80 June. By Mrs. Forrester 2 { 

81 A Daughter of Heth. By Wm. Black. ' i 

82 Sealed Lips. By F Du Boisgobey. .. . ' , 

83 A Strange Story. By Sir E. Bulwer 
Lj'tton - 

84 Hard Times. By Charles Dickens.... V i 

85 A Sea Queen. By W. Clark Russell ... * ; 

86 Belinda. By Rhoda Broughton 20 ^ 

87 Dick Sand ; or. A Captain at Fifteen. 
Bv Jules Verne 20 

88 The Privateersman. Captain Marryat 20 

90 Ernest Maltravers. By Sir E. Bulwer 
Lytton — ^ 

91 Barnaby Rudge. By Charles Dickens. 30 

The above books are for sale by all newedealers. or will bo sentto any addresH postage pre- 
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P. O. Box 3751 . 17 to 'iT Vandewiit«r Street, New York. 


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